RLA: Government repossession proposals won’t work

Michael Lloyd

October 10, 2019

Government proposals to reform the way landlords can repossess properties will not work and threatens the supply of homes for rent, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has claimed.

This was in response to a recent government consultation on ending Section 21 repossessions.

The RLA said the proposals fail to give any guarantee that landlords would be able to swiftly regain possession of a property where they have a legitimate reason, for example a tenant engaging in anti-social behaviour.

The association has claimed that many landlords rely on Section 21 to evict these tenants and removing this would increase the workload of repossession cases on the courts.

David Smith, policy director for the RLA, said: “The system for repossessing properties should be fair to both tenants and landlords.

“The government’s plans do not achieve this.

“The Ministry of Justice’s failure to properly engage with the process and provide clear and detailed proposals to improve the court system is especially disappointing.

“Tenants and landlords need assurance that in legitimate circumstances they will not be subjected to long and stressful legal proceedings in repossession cases.

“Without this and other changes, the government’s plans to scrap Section 21 will just make life more difficult for tenants.”

If landlords have to prove that the legal ground for anti-social behaviour is met, the RLA claims it will allow tenants to challenge a notice to evict.

This would then need proof by those affected who may be reluctant considering they may have to continue living with, or close to, the perpetrator over several months prior to a court hearing.

The RLA argues that such uncertainty would lead landlords to become more risk-averse and less likely to rent to those tenants seen to be of higher risk of rent arrears or causing damage to a property.

This comes after recent research by the RLA found most (84%) landlords would be more selective in who they rented to for this reason.

The RLA has also claimed that the consultation fails to properly consider measures to prevent tenancy breakdown from happening in the first place, for example around Universal Credit being a key cause of rent arrears.

They recommend remedies such as giving tenants the ability to choose to have the housing element paid directly to the landlord and ending the five-week waiting period to receive the first Universal Credit payment.

In addition, the RLA believes further work should be undertaken to develop rent guarantee schemes.


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