Following Wednesday night’s BBC Panorama programme that investigated the widely debated Section 21, or no-fault, evictions, one industry expert has warned that scrapping the system could make issues worse.
Investigative journalist Richard Bilton shed light on the difficulties faced by many tenants across the UK, but also spoke to landlords who see Section 21 as their only option.
Mark Pilling, the Managing Director of Spicerhaart Corporate Sales, responds to the programme: “Last night’s Panorama raised some very important issues. It focused on the recent rise in the number of landlords using no-fault Section 21 to evict. But, the truth is, there is always a reason why a landlord ends a tenancy, and I think it is misleading to say that tenants are being evicted for no reason.
“In our experience, the reasons for a Section 21 are usually either because the tenants have missed rent, they are late on rent or they are not treating the house well. The landlord may also need to use Section 21 because they are struggling financially and need to sell the property. The programme looked at the new rules introduced in Scotland at the end of last year, which put an end to no-fault evictions, giving more rights to both tenants and landlords. Under the new rules, landlords will need to take their case to a tribunal if they want it to evict, rather than having the automatic right to the property back.”
He continues: “Where tenants are being evicted through no fault of their own, but rather because of their landlords’ circumstances, it must be very upsetting for them. However, if landlords themselves are having financial difficulties, scrapping Section 21 could leave them trapped. With the changes in buy-to-let tax relief, a number of landlords will see their income reduce, whilst their borrowing costs will likely increase. This, coupled with potential payment difficulties linked to Universal Credit changes, means many will struggle.”
Pilling concludes: “There is a housing shortage in the UK, so the private rental sector is becoming more and more important, and, while I completely understand the reasons why there are calls for Section 21 to be scrapped, I fear it could actually compound the problem.”
Landlords, what are your thoughts?