More attacks on Section 21 notices

Generation Rent is on the attack again in opposition of the Section 21 which is calls the ‘leading cause of homelessness’. The group cites new research which says that in recent years there has been a surge in the use of S21 by landlords, notwithstanding the fact that it cannot be used if there have been failures by the landlord to abide by some health and safety regulations.

Yet again, we see a misguided and incorrect view portrayed by Generation Rent on another aspect of the private rental sector. A section 21 notice is one of the two ways which allows landlords, or agents acting on their behalf, to evict a tenant - it can be done when a property is to be sold by its owner, or when a tenant is in rent arrears, or when a tenant is breaching any of the other several clauses contained in their tenancy agreement.

Yes generation rent are correct that unlike a Section 8 notice, a ground does not have to be proven in court to grant possession, however lets also remember why landlords get into buy-to-let investments in the first place. Put it simply, what does a landlord want? A tenant who abides by the rules of their tenancy agreement and pays their rent on time each month. If a tenant were to do this, unless a landlords circumstances drastically change and they need to move back in to the property OR sell up (both of which a landlord is perfectly within his rights to do so considering the property is under his ownership) then the landlord would have no reason to seek possession through the use of a Section 21 OR a Section 8 notice.

Section 21 notices are generally only served when a tenant is DRASTICALLY breaching their agreement, the amount of conversations we have with landlords where their tenant is in significant arrears and they are still loathe to serve a notice would knock Generation Rent’s socks off. Furthermore and GR (as I will now call them) won’t want to hear this, but tenants can often be quite naughty during their tenancies. I review our arrears lists every month and on many occasions there are tenants who just decide to pay £100 of their £600 rent for example that month (which means they must have manually amended their standing order) and hadn’t contacted us to explain they were struggling, they would pay eventually and could we speak with their landlord for them. Would you go to Tesco and pay 50p for a sandwich that was listed as £2.50 and think that was ok? Why do some tenants think it is ok to do this with their rent?

GR need to face facts that yes, some landlords are bad and serve notice to their tenants, SOME landords (not all) don’t conduct maintenance when they should (and these are the landlords that should be removed from the sector) but YES some tenants are bad too and trash their landlords property, have huge rent arrears and refuse to leave without a possession order even AFTER a landlord has served a section 21 notice.

Just as an aside, and as a last stand against the ridiculousness that GR spout, most tenants leave properties because they have voluntarily given notice and have somewhere else to live, many tenants like this flexibility that they can move around when they want (I did when I was a tenant). CGT Lettings had nearly 550 tenants vacate in 2017/2018 and less than 10% of these were due to landlords requesting Section 21s. If Section 21s are removed from the industry then many landlords will also leave, with the population set to increase by 10 million by 2039 and a quarter of the population due to be renting at this time then too, where are all the properties going to come from if all good buy-to-let landlords have been scared away?

Angharad Trueman - Managing Director

Posted on Tuesday, 21 August, 2018