Recently the government announced plans to abolish section 21 notices or “no fault evictions”. This is where a landlord can ask to reclaim their property with two month’s notice. There’s been much uproar amongst many Ipswich landlords that we have spoken with. For many law abiding landlords there are several concerns.
The first concern is that a section 8 notice would be required instead. A section 8 means that you have to apply to the court before you can take possession. The waiting period for Ipswich county court is “between three and eight weeks depending on volume”, which means a much lengthier process and potentially prolonging a problem tenants stay. Section 8 notices also require a lot more in depth information such as police or reports if there is anti-social behaviour. With new GDPR rules the police and council can’t share certain information – an instant catch 22. As court appearances are common as well, witness neighbours can feel intimidated and decline to appear. All this meaning a judge potential siding with the tenant.
Add this to the cost of serving a section 8 notice. David Smith of the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has said a landlord would need to spend up to £5,000 to evict a problem tenant by taking them to court. This is money that could otherwise have been spent upgrading their properties for the benefit of their tenants, he added.
Mr Smith said the change would force reputable property owners to reduce their investment in the sector or sell up and could see the return of rogue landlords.
“There’s a real risk that, by getting rid of section 21, we return to the old days when some of the properties were really bad and some landlords were really unpleasant people,” he warned.
So why do the government want to abolish the notice? Georgie Laming of Generation Rent said she believed the changes would lead to a fairer relationship between tenant and landlord.
“The abolition of section 21 will definitely start to even out the playing field for tenants and landlords,” she said. “It will protect tenants from revenge evictions and mean that there are more long-term tenancies where the landlord and the tenant get on well.”
Ms Laming argued that, once the threat of a no-fault eviction was removed, tenants would be comfortable remaining in the rental sector for longer.
The government are purposing a new housing court that will deal with disputes. This proposal both the RLA and Generation Rent agree could cause further needless red tape and increased costs for both landlord and tenants. Both parties also agree that there is current legislation that can be enforced by the relevant local bodies to protect landlords and tenants.
As agents, we can’t stress enough how important it is to match good quality landlords with good quality tenants and that anything other than this should be addressed. What we do feel when speaking with Ipswich landlords that this proposed change, along with the recent cuts to mortgage and stamp duty relief, mean that we’re seeing decreasing numbers of new landlords and increasing numbers of landlords selling. What are your thoughts on the current and proposed legislation and how it will affect your properties? Please feel free to drop us a line for a chat.