In April of this year, Government made clear its intention to consult on the abolition of Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, more commonly known as ‘no fault evictions’. Its stated objectives; to ensure that tenants have the security they need to plan for the future and to enable landlords to invest in the much-needed housing that the UK needs.
In July, Government published its consultation, A New Deal for Renting: Resetting the balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants, providing clarity on the mandatory and discretionary grounds for possession for landlords including the introduction of a new ground concerning the sale of the property, widening the scope of some of the existing grounds and faster redress through the courts.
Whilst tenure reform is viewed with suspicion by landlords, given the effects of past interventions, the aim of having contented tenants, who are settled and happy in their homes is a shared one. As with much in life it is the exceptions and what happens when things go wrong that exercises landlords. The BPF’s members, largely comprised of Build to Rent (BtR) investors, are not against change if it is done sympathetically and in way that does not harm investment into the sector.
The BtR sector has been at the forefront of offering longer tenancies and many of those operating are working hard to deliver the high-quality homes that people need. The sector has already made huge strides in their objective to do this with currently 142,999 build to rent units either completed or planned across the UK.The model against which institutional landlords work is focussed on the long term, providing their customers with stability and security through longer term tenancies and ensuring that people feel stable in their homes, is fundamental to the sector’s success.
However, offering such tenancies without the requisite protections for regaining possession could be harmful to both landlords and tenants alike. The existing framework is unable to provide landlords with the confidence that the system will adequately be able to deliver the access and speedy decision making that will protect their financial investments and the customer experience they are seeking to deliver.
We are sympathetic to the Government’s aims of making sure that the private rented sector is operating fairly, and that people feel that their home is theirs for as long as they want it. However, the framework for change must be equally balanced and whilst we recognise the need to prevent unfair evictions, a landlord must not be prevented from ensuring that rent is paid, property is kept in good condition and anti-social behaviour is dealt with. This is equally important for tenants who must be certain that their landlord can swiftly resolve any anti-social behaviour issues from neighbouring properties.