Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action
On Monday I attended Parliament to give evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group for The Private Rental Sector before cross party MPS. I was there to offer my views and experience of landlords Serving Section 21 Notices in retaliation to tenants requesting repairs to be carried out on their rental property.
The proposed Private Members Bill has been put forward by Sarah Teather MP, to stop rogue landlords serving Section 21 Notices and evicting tenants who complain about disrepair issues, instead of carrying out these repairs. When a complaint is received by the Local Authority, they will contact the landlord to resolve the problem. If that fails, the Council will serve a Notice of Works to be carried out.
I agree tenants need to be protected, but I feel the best way forward is for rogue landlords to be named and shamed. Landlords should be prosecuted by the Councils for non- compliance and a “three strikes and you’re out” rule should also be implemented, meaning that the landlord would have a banning order preventing them from renting out properties in the future.
The All Party Parliamentary Group will hear further evidence next Monday and then provide its report to the Government. The bill is due to be heard in Parliament on the 28th November 2014.
My main fear when the bill was first announced, was the effect it would have on the majority of good landlords, because it opens the floodgates for tenants to damage properties on purpose and then make spurious claims. Other issues include the added delays as a result of Environmental Health Officers having to inspect properties that have been reported, trouble with gaining access which could also cause delays, rent not being paid and an increased number of defended cases at court.
Three weeks ago, Landlord Action conducted a telephone survey with 100 landlords that had instructed them to serve Section 21 notices. The results found that only 2% of our landlords had served a section 21 because the tenant had asked for repairs to be carried out. 28% served notice because there were rent arrears and 15% needed the property back so they could sell, 13% needed to move back into the property, 11% wanted to re-let to another tenant to obtain more rent and 8% said the tenant wanted to be evicted so they could be re-housed by the Council.
We plan to carry out a more extensive survey in the very near future, but my concern is that some groups have been labeling the service of a Section 21 as ‘Retaliation’, when you can see, the numbers are actually very low. Shelter had also said that 2% of landlords served notice under Retaliation, which with our figures we agreed with, and Sarah Teather has quoted that figure in her article in the Guardian.
However, we disagree with Shelter’s figures that this equates to 213,000 tenants being asked to vacate because of ‘retaliation’. I also disagree with statistics that Sarah Teather says that 14% of families in London have been hit with Revenge Evictions.
You have to realise that Section 21 is non-fault and landlords do not have to give a reason why they want their property back, so actually, most of the time tenants may not know the reason. With property prices in London rising by as much as 10% this year, many Landlords simply want to sell and take advantage of the market, especially when a lot have been stuck in negative equity for so long. Others have more personal reasons as to why they want possession, as highlighted in our survey.
If you wish to read a blog that I wrote about the all time high levels of Accelerated Section 21 Possession we have experienced, please click >>> here.
In summary, we must now wait until the 28th November to see if the Bill will be heard in Parliament.
Please note that the views expressed by guest bloggers represent their own personal views, and not necessarily those of everyone associated with Northwood.