20/12/2019

Tis the Season…

The new government’s Queens Speech confirmed that there will be a Bill that will involve the ending of section 21 ‘no ground’ possession procedure. This is something we’ve talked about before. It will be complicated, will involve new grounds of possession for Housing Act 1988 tenancies, and will have to address all those regulatory breaches for which invalidating a section 21 notice is currently a penalty. But still, blimey. This will be a new landscape in many ways. Not all of them good, I strongly suspect.

Of course, the ‘there is no such thing as a no fault eviction’ brigade are out in force, asserting that tenancies are always ended because of tenant fault.  For them, may I present this heart-warming Christmas time story from the forum r/LegalAdviceUK on reddit.com (The original 16 December 2019 post has been deleted by the moderators, but was archived with the moderator’s express hope that “the tenants can use this as evidence in their civil claim“). The archived post is here. It reads:

Please listen to the whole truth before you lambaste me.
I asked the family (one woman, four kids, one adult teenager) that live in my property to find another place to live because I wanted the house back. I gave the section 21 notice ages two months ago. They did not leave. I said, ok, if you don’t leave by 1st of December, I will go to court to evict you.
I asked nicely; I told the woman my family are coming to join me for Christmas, we have not seen each other for over a year and my current property is not big enough to host dinner; so I needed my old property back urgently but she didn’t care.
I have changed the locks before and no one has taken legal action against me and I ONLY DO IT for emergency/drastic measures when the tenant doesn’t listen or has broken our agreement and I can’t be bothered to spend my business (time/money) going through the court system which takes ages.
Every landlord I know changes the locks and it gets the tenants to comply with eviction.
Unfortunately, on 2nd December evening, she called the Met saying i was harassing her (false) and that she was stranded outside and could not access her house- they told her it was a civil matter but the police recorded the incident and she has used the police statement as evidence in the letter before action.
I have already taken repossession of the property, I believe they are residing in a BnB at the moment provided by Greenwich council?
What are my options and my defence to this alleged unlawful eviction claim by the tenant and her solicitor?

Oh where to start? Without lambasteing. The wanting the property back because they needed it to host Christmas dinner for their family? The ‘look I’ve illegally evicted people before but only for emergencies/when I can’t be bothered going to court’? The ‘everybody does it’? The sheer screaming sense of entitlement and self pity?

But I think the crowning glory is posting this on a public forum at a point where the tenant is represented and the details given in the post are such that identification that this is their client’s case should not be too difficult. So, a confession in a public forum, while asking for advice on a defence, may be the very stupidest thing that this landlord has done.

If the tenant’s solicitors are reading this – happy Christmas, here is an early present.

To every decent private landlord out there – and there are plenty – sorry but you’ve lost the argument. It isn’t necessarily you, but so long as you can’t stop this, you’ll lose the argument.

And with that, I’m off to plan how to lambaste the turkey.

[Update. The reddit editor has now posted this “Edit OP posted an “update” which was the dumbest, more obviously fake thing ever, so all their posts have been removed.” So the veracity of the original post is obviously open to question. But whether this individual instance is true or not is somewhat by the by, as such things certainly do happen, from my personal experience and that of others. ]

 

 

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

55 Comments

  1. Ben Reeve-Lewis

    Copied from my Linkedin post of 30 minutes ago heartily agreeing with your sentiments

    So its mid evening on the 20th December 2012 and I just got in.

    Safer Renting’s crew of committed folk, 8 people determined to make a difference, largely finished today for the Xmas period, Just me and other founding member Roz Spencer in on Monday but already trying to keep the balls in the air on 2 threatened illegal evictions and a threat to destroy a tenants possessions.

    The tactic is of course to carry out your criminal acts over the Xmas period when those responsible for policing it arent there. I’ve had this every year for 29 years

    Legislation doesnt go anywhere near addressing the kinds of shite really going on out there.

    Merry Xmas and lets hope we can protect those three people before the big shut down and lets not forget what the NLA and RLA keep reminding us of, that most landlords are fine.

    Personally, I’m not interested

    Reply
  2. Mandy Thomson

    Sorry, Giles but the so called landlord you’ve cited in your post would be even more likely to try a DIY eviction without Section 21 (I only hope such people don’t try DIY medicine as well…).

    I’m happy for Section 21 to end but ONLY if plenty of additional grounds are added to Section 8, we get a dedicated housing court and moreover, where there is sufficient evidence the landlord can get a swift eviction.

    The RLA’s survey, “Possession Reform in the PRS” July 2019 found the following:

    “Our findings show clearly that landlords are not litigious – and like to keep good
    tenants in their homes. This is a finding confirmed by previous RLA surveys of
    landlords. Where they are forced to act however, they are five times more likely to use
    Section 21 than Section 8, despite the latter being the notice that is supposed to be
    used where the tenant is unreliable or disruptive.

    • Where they have been forced to use Section 21, poor tenant behaviour is usually the
    catalyst:
    o 83% of those who used Section 21 exclusively have done so because of rent arrears.
    o Over half of all landlords who use Section 21 have used it to regain possession from
    anti-social tenants. ”

    Moreover, successive English National Housing surveys report that something 80% of private tenants are satisfied. These people have no incentive to complete surveys and their landlords are not aware they’re doing it, so why would they say that if it were not true?

    I do two full days each week on a very busy landlord advice line run by one the national landlord associations. Many of these landlords tell me they plan to sell up and a small number are already serving S.21 to further this goal. Their reasons? Among the many legislation changes and Clause 24 (that no longer allows landlords to offset their mortgage payments against higher rate income tax), the icing on the cake is the proposed abolition of S.21.

    There is already a critical shortage of housing for poorer tenants (certainly in places like London). Figures by the RLA suggest 50% of landlords will exit the market when S.21 goes.

    There MUST be a viable alternative in place before S.21 for the sake of both landlords AND tenants.

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      Mandy, the landlord in this post should not be a landlord. At all. Ever. Nor should his ilk. I simply raise his existence as the counterpoint to the ‘landlords don’t evict tenants unless they have done something wrong’ refrain. That argument is not a winner. Find better arguments.

      Reply
    • Michael Barnes

      It is likely that the surveys are of members.
      They are people who care, and therefore unlikely to issue S21 without good reason.

      Reply
  3. Orson

    You will be interested when the decent landlords pull out of the sector in droves because of the removal of S.21 and the probable failure to properly revise S.8, when the queue for temporary accommodation is around the block at the LA, then the scarcity of places to rent causes costs to rocket for tenants. What’s next from you …rent controls…that’s worked well the last time didn’t it. You’ve spent too long listening to the drivel from Shelter and Generation Rant.

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      I don’t think you read my first paragraph.

      The point about decent landlords was wider. So long as they can’t control, stop or affect the bad landlords, the argument for regulation, licensing etc, just gets stronger. So, in this instance, the often made argument that landlords don’t evict on no fault grounds unless there is tenant fault rather falls apart. You are going to need better arguments…

      Also, I notice you didn’t even bother to condemn this landlord before grasping the wrong end of the stick.

      Reply
  4. Ben Reeve-Lewis

    I would point you in the direction of the recent Edge Hill University report by Dr Tom Simcock on landlords selling up and getting out to what they perceive to be a punitive environment
    https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/publications/state-of-the-prs-q1-2019-a-survey-of-private-landlords-and-the-im

    40% of landlords sold to a category called “Other House mover”, 37% sold to other landlords, 29% sold to first time buyers and a large gap in percentage was identified between landlords who said they would sell up and those who actually had done over the previous 12 months.

    The threat of landlords selling up is thrown out there regularly. The Edge Hill Uni report tells us that the situation is not as disastrous as always predicted Orson and another indicator there is that whilst landlords may exit the market they cant take the properties with them, which still remain to be used as homes for other people, such as the “Other house mover” or heaven forfend “First time buyer”

    Reply
    • Michael Barnes

      But HMOs becoming single-family residences does reduce the number of homes available

      Reply
      • Giles Peaker

        There is currently zero evidence that LLs are selling up – over the usual churn – and zero evidence that this has resulted in a reduction in tenancies. They may, they may not. But I’m not buying the endless chicken little refrain, without actual evidence.

        Reply
    • Michael Barnes

      I was merely pointing out that the oft-repeated refrain of “there will still be the same number of homes available” is not necessarily correct.

      Reply
  5. David Heal

    Several commentators on the Reddit site suggested that the OP is a troll, but if genuine all decent landlords would join me in condemning this sort of behaviour. It has already been said that removal of S21 would have no effect on a rogue landlord who operates below the radar and ignores the rules – he will continue to do so and it is only the decent landlords, the vast majority, who will be affected.

    As to the Edgehill report, it finds that:
    69% of the properties sold by landlords have been removed from the rental market
    The proportion of landlords who reported they were planning to sell is at its highest level since the start of these quarterly surveys.

    The data was collected before the removal of S21 had been announced so I have no doubt that the proportion of landlords plannig to sell will have increased dramatically over the past 6 months or so.

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      The thing is, whether the post was a troll or not, this happens and often. I didn’t say scrapping s.21 would stop him. You also appear to have misread my first two paragraphs.

      And the selling up? We have heard this about every and any change since the deposit requirements in 2004. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t, but after 15 years of landlords shouting that the sky is falling, I will need proof that it is happening. Note the Edgehill report finds that declared intention doesn’t result in actually doing so.

      Reply
  6. Orson

    You can’t present an almost certainly troll post as “evidence”….find a better argument.. As we say dahn Deptford way “you’ve been mugged right off and done up like a kipper”. There is already more than enough legislation for LA’s to deal with this type of landlord behaviour, the fact that they don’t is not the fault of good landlords who are again being scapegoated by you and BR-L.

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      You appear to be taking the same approach as Labour is to its election defeat. Blame everyone else. I somehow suspect it will be as successful.

      I’m not scapegoating good landlords. Expressly not. I am pointing out that repeating the same arguments that have already lost, but doing it louder, is not a good strategy.

      Reply
  7. Smollet

    The only shocking thing about the Reddit story is that anyone is gullible enough to believe it

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      It takes an impressive level of unwarranted self belief to turn up on a site run by a housing lawyer to tell them unlawful evictions don’t happen.

      Reply
    • Smollet

      It takes an impressive level of unwarranted self belief to claim decent private landlords have lost the argument because of an almost certainly made up story.

      Reply
      • Giles Peaker

        What a good thing that I didn’t do that, then.

        And is it made up? Possibly, but I doubt it. The details, actions and attitude ring true. But even if it is made up, there are no shortage of identical real cases. (I see Ben has now pointed this out, but any housing lawyer sees them.)

        Reply
  8. Ben Reeve-Lewis

    Since April 2016 Safer Renting have dealt with getting on for 400 referred households with problems ranging from trespass to goods, harassment, illegal eviction and serious intimidation. Including a landlord just penalised to the tune of £28,000 for attacking a family, for no other reason than the council had identified his property as being without a licence.

    We have mobile phone footage of an 8 year old boy trying to hold the door shut while the landlord and his henchman try to hit him through the gap with a crowbar.

    Extreme? Not really, pretty much everyday in TRO land and it has to stop.

    Landlords complain of licensing and some extol the benefits of self-regulation but I dont see it going on. I hate the fact that so many articles on rogue landlords have to be presaged with the apology that most landlords are fine.

    I dont care if they are and I also dont care if decent landlords find themselves caught up in the fight against people who attack families with crowbars. Incidents like that are too routine for me to be concerned with collateral damage.
    .
    Its Sunday afternoon and as I said in a previous comment, I return to work tomorrow to deal with 2 illegal eviction threats and the destruction of a tenant’s possessions. Not a scurrilous tabloid story, just another day in the office.

    Is the message prompting Giles’ article a hoax? I’ve been dealing with tales like that for 29 years. I doubt it

    Reply
  9. Orson

    So, just a tad over two cases per week over that time period, hardly an epidemic is it?? How many tenancies are there in the area you cover? Tens of thousands I expect, so as a percentage of the total tenancies I expect it’s around 0.000001% and you want to bugger around with the other 99.9999r% because of this. By the way, at only two cases per week spread around 8 people your fees must be eye watering. I’m not going to be your collateral damage mate.

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      I think, Orson, I’m just going to leave your comment as is. Because it says an awful lot. Just none of it good about you.

      Reply
  10. Smollet

    “I hate the fact that so many articles on rogue landlords have to be presaged with the apology that most landlords are fine.”

    I’m sure you really hate that fact.

    Reply
  11. Ben Reeve-Lewis

    Safer Renting charges no fees Orson. We’re a charity

    Reply
  12. Orson

    So are Shelter and their CEO pockets 10 grand a MONTH salary with other directors on “significant remuneration packages”. You didn’t answer my point regarding how many tenancies there may be in the area’s you cover so we have an idea of the percentage of bad landlords you are dealing with, or is my estimate too accurate for comfort. Don’t let the facts get in the way of another piece of propaganda eh!! I bet you’re a sad remoaners as well?

    Reply
    • Jon Patience

      And people wonder why we have a low opinion of some landlords.

      Reply
  13. R Jones

    Interesting thread. A number of my friends are County Court judges, and avid readers of the blog. I’m just wondering what they will make of some of the comments made above. Quite illuminating, but not in the way that the people posting them expect. Merry Xmas!

    Reply
    • Orson

      Are you saying they would be biased in giving their judgements in possession cases in light of the above? Or just confirming what we already know???

      Reply
  14. John-Paul Keates

    There’s no evidence that landlords are selling up.
    The number of households living in rented accommodation continues to rise slowly – that can’t happen if the rental market shrinks to any singificant extent.
    It’s a standard landlord’s lobby response to any kind of change.

    I’m a landlord, and that story is credible and disgusting (regardless of whether it’s true in that specific case).
    Some kind of national registration scheme for landlords has to exist, because the only way of getting rogue landlords out is to make it harder to be any kind of landlord.

    If what you’re supplying is someone’s home, best be compelled to be at least reasonable at the job.

    Reply
  15. Andy

    Some rapid progress on here through the five stages of grief:

    Denial (Unlawful evictions don’t happen)
    Anger (Unlawful evictions are the fault of the tenant)
    Bargaining (Unlawful evictions might happen, but not very many)
    Depression (If you stop me from doing unlawful evictions I’ll just sell my property)
    Acceptance (All right, unlawful evictions are bad)

    Reply
  16. Ben Reeve-Lewis

    Haha I dont think everyone has gotten to stage 5 yet Andy

    Reply
    • Orson

      Perhaps just the figure of the number of unlawful evictions to the total number of tenancies and therefore the percentage we are dealing with would be good…..you seem reluctant to provide this number….perhaps because it’s so small it blows your position to pieces.

      Reply
      • Giles Peaker

        I suspect Ben hasn’t responded because your attempted point is a nonsense. Ben has a small team, working at capacity. So, equating the number of cases they can take on with the total number of unlawful evictions in the area gets you precisely nowhere.

        Reply
  17. Orson

    Yes….facts are nonsense when they don’t suit your narrative aren’t they. BR-L works in Croydon (36,000 licences applied for) Lewisham (27,000 licences likely) Waltham Forest (21,000 licences applied for) So that’s 400 cases divided by 84,000 tenancies, a 0.004% of tenancies and that will become even smaller when the numbers for the other boroughs he is active in are added in……………very, very inconvenient…but don’t let that get in the way of your propaganda eh!!

    Reply
    • Rob

      Your maths is wrong. That’s 0.0047 or 0.5%, so this small team deals with 1 in every 200 tenancies in all the boroughs they support, every year.

      Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      Once more, the number of unlawful evictions dealt with by Ben’s small team working at capacity is not the total number of unlawful evictions in the areas, because they can’t take on every case. This should be blindingly obvious.

      Reply
  18. Orson

    Add in the other boroughs the BR-L deals with, the fact that the number of Licences would be an absolute minimum as there could be two or three tenancies per licence over a five year licence period so the percentage keeps diminishing and diminishing. The 99.5% of good tenants and landlords have got to be buggered about because the LA’s FAIL to deal with the rogues……I don’t think so.

    Reply
  19. Silverstone

    https://landlords.org.uk/news-campaigns/news/governments-housing-plans-are-crisis-waiting-happen

    “The Association cited research from Capital Economics, an independent consultancy, showing that if Section 21 is abolished without any accompanying reform of the law courts, the supply of private rented houses in England could fall by 20 percent (960,000 dwellings) as landlords choose to either exit the market or reduce the size of their portfolio.
    It also pointed to data showing that there would be a 59 percent reduction in the number of private rented dwellings available to households in receipt of local housing allowance or universal credit (770,000 fewer dwellings) because landlords would instead opt to rent to people more able to demonstrate a track-record of making regular payments and a steady income.”

    Whether or not the estimates are accurate, it will certainly have a negative effect on supply, inevitably hitting those on the lowest incomes hardest. Those purporting to speak for tenants would do well to reflect on that.

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      I’m never confident about research reports that have headlines quoted but where the report itself (and methodology etc) is not available.

      I’m also not sure what “if Section 21 is abolished without any accompanying reform of the law courts” means. It is clear that the govt will be reforming the section 8/Schedule 2 grounds.

      As the RLA report shows, (page 70) stated intention to sell is not a reliable indicator of selling – about 50% of those who said they were selling, actually did. ( https://research.rla.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019-Q1-State-of-the-PRS-Report-FINAL.pdf ) (I must add that over the last few years, the RLA have been excellent in publishing their research in full, with explanations of methodology and so on. It makes a big difference.)

      So, you know, there is always a bit of cherry picking and sky is falling (yet again) going on. And without being able to see the underlying research, I’m not going to give this an awful lot of credence on the headline figures.

      But that is not to say that there won’t be effects, possibly including a shrinking of the rental market. As my opening paragraph hopefully makes clear, I think this is going to be a complicated change, and there will be a lot of ‘be careful what you wish for’ in the results, for all parties and positions.

      Reply
  20. Ben Reeve-Lewis

    Blimey you “Decent” landlords dont half make some stereotypical assumptions about where us enforcement types are coming from.

    A few weeks back I presented at a conference for advisers/enforcement officers. All of us had our head in our hands about the abolition of s21 and the inevitable fall out.

    For a while I have been receiving generic emails from a range of housing campaigners trumpeting the success of the abolition of s21. I am far from a celebratory mood.

    Lets put aside s21, which is really just a bit of legal machinery and look at what it really is about; The morality of no fault eviction. If we look at Baroness Grender’s private members bill as a blue print, no fault eviction isnt going anywhere, its merely morphing into a further set of grounds in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988, albeit with a few precautionary caveats.

    From Safer Renting’s point of view that abolition of s21 is a non starter. The criminals we deal with dont bother with any form of notice whatsoever. Normal business is a swift lock change, usually with violence and the tenant’s belongings dumped in the front garden at best, if not destroyed.

    In that sense, the s21 argument is an irrelevance for us, given that most notices we see are written in crayon on the back of an envelope, iThats if we see one at all.

    When the small percentage of shysters try to make it look legal they issue a section 21, with all the 19 different things that can invalidate them Spotting the defects is like pinning the tail on the donkey. Just, just blindfold the trainee advocate and point them at the notice.

    Abolition of s21 will not touch the bottom feeding parasites.and as Giles relentlessly emphasises, you cant just abolish s21 without re-drafting a whole host of ancillary legislation and CPRs. Something I doubt government has really considered beyond their popular crowd pleasing initiatives.

    Of course there is an alternative operating in Wales. Prohibit the service of a s8 on the same basis that currently prohibits service of a s21. You up for that?

    And let the usual trolling begin hahaha

    Reply
  21. Sam Lister

    There are always two sides to every dispute. And that’s why of course we have the courts – where the parties can’t agree about the law or the facts then the issue is decided for them by an indepndent third party (a judge). This is what you don’t see in survey evidence from landlords, or for that matter tenants. So when a landlord says I have only ever evicted when the tenant has rent arrears or for ASB – then of course that MAY be true, but unless we see how the other party to the dispute saw it we can’t say for certain that is a fact (now – to be clear – I am not saying here that the research is invalid).

    Now just imagine for a moment that we had a system whereby if one side to a dispute gave evdience and that evidence was always weighted 100% and for the other it was zero then that would be unfair right? Well that’s pretty much what we have at the moment with s21. The landlord gives notice for say, rent arrears, and no matter what evidence the other party gives to dispute that it is irrelevant. The only defences are technical/procedural ones.

    I attended one of the MHCLG consultation events for social landlords about s21 repeal (there were numerous others for private landlords). What i found interesting was that all of the landlords there said it should be reatined for them because they would only ever use it if it was justified – exactly the same argument that private landlords use. But none of them could answer my point that however compelling the case studies were they presented (mainly s8 cases where possession wasn’t given) that was still their view of what actually happened and it is not a very convincing argument to justify ‘loading the dice’ for all other cases. If the facts really are that compelling then nine times out of ten you should win (no its not ten because the courts can make mistakes just like anyone else).

    one final point (and this is a general point not specific to L and T disputes) – any social scientist will tell you this – attitudes are a very weak predictor of behaviour.

    Reply
  22. Michael Barnes

    One problem with landlords selling up due to changes in legislation, even if the property is sold to another landlord, is that the landlord is likely to want to sell with vacant possession.

    That means that a person or a family is being removed from their home.
    And if they are on Universal Credit, then they are now unlikely to be welcomed by most decent landlords and so will end up in cramped temporary accommodation or in the clutches of the sort of people that Ben deals with daily.

    It is not just a numbers game (as some suggest).

    Reply
  23. Pete H

    It’s all irrelevant if legislation remains unenforced and that is the real issue.

    Reply
    • Orson

      Exactly, there is more than enough legislation available to LA’s to deal with the rogue landlords, but they just DON’T do it.

      Reply
    • Michael Barnes

      Rogues, yes.
      Criminals? maybe not

      Reply
  24. MR

    Orson,

    A single unlawful eviction is one unlawful eviction too many.

    Every tenant has the right to live safely in their home without the fear of being made homeless in an instant without due process. Your point about rationalising unlawful evictions by looking at proportions is irrelevant.

    There is a legal process to regain possession of one’s property. If a landlord is unable to follow the process then that person should exit the rental market.

    Reply
  25. Orson

    I’m pointing out that LA’s have more than enough legislation to deal with criminal landlords, but they fail to do it. The reasons for their failures are numerous, but I’m not interested in that. The percentage of illegal evictions is tiny when compared to the total number of tenancies and wanting to change a whole section of law because those who should enforce against the criminals singularly fail to do so is utter nonsense.

    Reply
  26. Ian Narbeth

    Giles, the landlord in your story is a bad landlord but he did not evict using s21. He unlawfully changed the locks because he couldn’t be bothered to go to court. So, the story is not a case for abolishing s21. If anything, if s21 worked more efficiently landlords like the one you cite would not “take the law into their own hands” but would get a court decision in weeks not months. If tenants who failed to comply with a court order were punished they would leave when told to by the court and landlords would be less likely to resort to illegal self-help. At present there is little sanction for a tenant who fails to leave in response to a s21 notice or a court order. The landlord is put to (usually irrecoverable) expense and (often substantial) delay in trying to recover his property.

    Ben Reeve-Lewis seems to be arguing both ways. In one breath he is not bothered about “collateral damage” to decent landlords and then in the next that abolishing s21 won’t do anything to deal with the criminal landlords with crowbars. So what is the point of abolishing s21?

    I fear the law of unintended consequences will soon apply. As decent landlords become even more choosy with tenants because of the fear that eviction will be harder, the more vulnerable tenants will be driven to the rogues.

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      Hi Ian. I didn’t say it was a s.21 eviction. I said it was an example of a landlord serving a s.21 notice in the absence of tenant fault (or indeed good reason).

      The reason there is little sanction for a tenant who does not leave in response to a s.21 notice or a possession order is that legally the tenancy continues until execution of a warrant of possession. I agree that the warrant stage is the reason for substantial delay in the process.

      None of that excuses illegal self help. And illegal eviction is now both an RRO and banning order offence.

      As I said at the start of the piece, ending s.21 will be complicated. We will have to see what is proposed.

      Reply
    • Ian Narbeth

      Thank you for clarifying that Giles. The landlord in that example wanted the property back for his own family’s use and occupation. Is that not a good reason? You might say that wanting space for family members during a holiday is not sufficient: they could have paid for hotels. That might have cost several months rent for a few weeks’ accommodation. Where do you draw the line? What about the landlord wanting the property back so an adult child can live there, perhaps whilst at university?

      If landlords have to prove fault, meaning breach of a covenant (other than one to leave by a specific date) then it will become risky for people who work abroad or away from home temporarily to let out their properties for fear of never getting them back. There are landlords with holiday homes who would happily rent them out for part of the year. Why risk it if the tenants can stay indefinitely despite agreeing at the outset that the letting was for a fixed period only?

      At bottom the problem is a housing shortage. If there were more rental houses in the right places available, tenants would be able to move more easily in the same area and landlords would know that tenants had a choice. I fear that abolishing s21 will reduce the availability of properties and will exacerbate the problem.

      Reply
      • Giles Peaker

        I very much suspect requiring the property back for occupation by a family member will be a new ground of possession (occupation rather than holiday, mind you ;-) ), as it has been in Scotland.

        Anyone who lets out their holiday home for a fixed period is already running a risk. The tenant doesn’t have to leave. It is not a practice I would encourage, let alone allow to shape policy.

        Reply
  27. be

    Ian s21 is only part of an entirely dysfunctional picture. Working across 5 London boroughs among the bottom feeding parasites and criminals, Safer Renting dont often see much in the way of documentation that even goes anywhere close to being a s21. So many of which are written on the back of an envelope. Thats even if they display any pretence at that level.

    Invalid s21, no s21 at all, mad s21’s written in crayon on a page torn from from an exercise book is what we see.
    I think Michael Barnes posting above hits the nail on the head, when he says that the legislation is sufficient to deal with rogue landlords but not criminal ones.

    But they arent the same problem The abolition of s21 will, as you have stated, have no effect whatsoever on criminal landlords, who generally dont bother with notices at all. S21 is a matter for public morality. Why should a person lose their home when they have done nothing wrong? or just because their occupation interferes with an owners’ rights to maximise profits on their portfolio?

    My comments on collateral damage arent aimed at arguments on s21 but the wider legislation dealing with rogue landlords. The person in the substantive article in this instance illegally evicted a person from their home. They committed a criminal offence and yet several posters here cannot find it within themselves to condemn that action, instead preferring to complain about how hard done by the landlord community is oer even to assert that the story is fake news. For those people, I have no problems with collateral damage.

    Reply
  28. Ben Reeve-Lewis

    Oh and sorry, I meant to reinforce what I said above. I find no fault evictions morally reprehensible and abhorrent but I am pragmatic enough to understand how the web of the logic is built into the fabric of landlord and tenant law for the past 30 years and am NOT in favour of the abolition of s21 because I recognise that it cant just be swept away and I dont trust the legislators not to create a complete clusterf**k in the drafting of new laws to replace it

    Reply
    • Ian Narbeth

      Sorry, Ben, you over-state the case. It is not morally reprehensible to rent out your property for a fixed period of time and want certainty getting it back at the end of the tenancy – see the examples in my reply to Giles. Why should a tenant have the right to a property for life?

      I agree with you that the legislators will probably make a mess of new laws. I doubt if they consult landlords and if they do, I doubt they take any notice.

      Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      Your comment is here. I’ll add a line. I note that reddit have left the archived article up.

      And as mentioned above, regardless of the genuineness or not of that post, such things certainly happen, as both Ben and I can attest. The ‘it is fake because this doesn’t happen’ approach is, I’m afraid, fatally flawed.

      Reply

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