Why Renters Are Rebelling Against Section 21 Evictions

Pressure groups are requesting that the government eliminate the eviction notice element, known as section 21, within assured shorthold tenancies. This section allows landlords to evict perfect tenants, by presenting as little as just two months’ notice. The rules also offer no right to appeal and no assistance to fight the notice.

Tenants Are Not Protected

The pressure groups suggest that tenants are not protected satisfactorily, because landlords may simply choose to sell the property when house prices increase sufficiently. They are not considering the level of protection that good tenants require and that needs to change.

They’re asking the government to protect tenants against these short-term evictions and to offer individuals the chance of a greater permanency in their home. They propose that landlords offer more long-term home opportunities, rather than allowing investors to sell properties at short notice, when the property market conditions suit the landlord.

Statistics indicate that section 21 evictions have risen considerably in the past few years, with increases matching house price rises.

They feel that the downside to the short notice period allowed under the current rules is that when house prices are reducing, landlords wish to keep tenants who are paying rent consistently and are therefore, unlikely to sell the property. Conversely as house prices increase, landlords will look to evict their tenants so they can sell the property to gain more profits.

Data Proves the Point

The Office of National Statistics has data that shows that from early in 2008, both house prices and evictions fell. As house prices increased towards the middle of 2009, the number of evictions intensified, with both elements rising towards the end of 2009.

Statistics show that evictions related to a short notice period, via section 21, increased to 16,441 in 2015. The comparison indicates that the last time house prices were reduced significantly was in 2009, when eviction cases numbered 4,963.

As a broad average across the local authorities, when house prices increase by around 10%, evictions are seen to climb by around 60%.

The pressure groups are convinced that their research shows that section 21 evictions, connected to assured shorthold tenancies, have risen considerably in recent years and are matched by house price increases.

They will continue to fight the government’s current rules surrounding section 21 evictions until a fair version of the rules are updated. This must include a high level of safety protection for tenants who continue to pay perfectly, every month and look after the property perfectly, for the landlord.

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Fire Safety Offences Can Lead to Substantial Fines

Hammersmith Magistrates Court fined a landlord £4000 with £1500 costs for failing to deliver the correct fire protection for their tenants. This was after pleading guilty to all three charges, for offences under the Housing Act of 2004.

A fire had been found quickly, starting from a candle left alight. The fire services extinguished the fire and fortunately, there were no injuries to any of the occupants.

The investigation found that the property, let to 4 tenants, did not have the appropriate fire doors for the living room, bedrooms or the kitchen. The lack of fire doors meant that the tenants did not have a protected means of evacuation which meant the flames could quickly fill the escape route across the top floor landing.

With no wire-in detection system for fire, the tenants had no method of being warned. There were three battery-operated smoke alarms, but these had not been maintained sufficiently, allowing the batteries to run out of power and taken out by the tenants to stop the bleeping noise which should warn individuals to replace the batteries.

This case involved a professional landlord with multiple properties, operating his business for 30 years, with the rental income as his entire source of income.

Despite being highly regarded by tenants and the court receiving references from other happy tenants, the court proved that landlords must always be aware of their responsibilities towards individuals living in a tenanted property. Fortunately, no one was injured and this example shows why the correct fire procedures and equipment must be installed and maintained regularly. This also confirms that landlords breaking the law will be prosecuted after a successful investigation.

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Are Your Tenants Waiting to Move On to Buy Their Own Home?

Just over one quarter of renting tenants will relocate, where possible, to another town or city, so they can buy a property. The same recent study found that a further 29% of tenants would consider this option. Conversely, around 44% of tenants insisted that they would stay in the same town or city and have no plans to move elsewhere, even where that’s their best option to purchase their own home.

London tenants, who are most used to high rents and expensive properties should they wish to own, are the most likely to contemplate moving so they can buy a property with almost 90% open to this idea. Just under 15% of individuals in the East Midlands would be keen to move elsewhere to buy their own home.

The reasons behind these options and considerations are related to the fact that almost 50% of tenants cannot find the deposit required while just over 20% will be unable to secure a mortgage to buy a home.

The good news for tenants and landlords in the survey suggests that there are less overcrowded properties in the marketplace and more energy-efficient homes to rent which means more properties fall within the ‘decent homes’ standard.

With the ever-increasing cost of owning a property and the figures staying consistently beyond the means of many, the option of completely moving to a different area so that people can buy a home looks more attractive. This is particularly true of London and the south-east because people can gain so much better value elsewhere.

Landlords may not need to be worried completely about these issues because moving to another area of the country isn’t easy when people consider moving away from close family and friends. Changing job may not always simple and getting a mortgage is more difficult when you have recently changed jobs.

All this information from the study shows that tenants and landlords continue to play an important role in the mix of housing available across the UK.

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