Monday, 24 June 2019

Government reform of tenancies sees landlords warn of ‘chaos’

Government reform of tenancies sees landlords warn of ‘chaos’

THE government has announced proposals to create “open-ended tenancies” which will prevent landlords from evicting people at short notice and for no reason, writes Alison Stodolnic.

Under existing rules, when a fixed term rental contract comes to an end, landlords can evict tenants for no specified reason if they want to.

The government says this practice, known as “Section 21 no-fault evictions”, is one of the biggest causes of family homelessness.

Instead, landlords will need to provide “legitimate reasons” in court for removing tenants from their homes.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Everyone renting in the private sector has the right to feel secure in their home, settled in their community and able to plan for the future with confidence.

“But millions of responsible tenants could still be uprooted by their landlord with little notice, and often little justification.

“This is wrong — and today we’re acting by preventing these unfair evictions.

“This important step will not only protect tenants from unethical behaviour, but also give them the long-term certainty and the peace of mind they deserve.”

The reform proposals are now being put out for consultation, and are likely to meet resistance from landlords. Under the new rules, landlords will be able to evict their tenants on the grounds of rent arrears, damage to the property or other breaches of contract.

They will also be able to do so if they wish to sell or move into their homes.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Government plans to abolish no-fault evictions represent an outstanding victory for England’s 11 million private renters.

“This change will slam the brakes on unstable short-term tenancies and give tenants everywhere a massive boost in security, for which the government will deserve great credit.

“One in four families now privately rent their home, as do hundreds of thousands of older people, and yet we frequently hear from people with contracts shorter than your average gym membership, who live in constant fear of being thrown out at the drop of a hat.

“Getting this new legislation through parliament is critical to people being able to stay in their rented home as long as they need, so we look forward to the government passing this law as quickly as possible.”

However, Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association, said: “Landlords currently have little choice but to use Section 21.

“They have no confidence in the ability or the capacity of the courts to deal with possession claims quickly and surely, regardless of the strength of the landlord’s case.

“England’s model of tenancy was always intended to operate in a sector where Section 21 exists. This change makes the fixed term meaningless, and so creates a new system of indefinite tenancies by the back door.

“The onus is on the government to get this right. If the government introduces yet another piece of badly thought out legislation, we guarantee there will be chaos.”

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