Is Abolishing Section 21 A Ploy To Fool The Country?

UPDATE (29/05/2024):

It appears my spider senses were on the money this time! The Renters Reform Bill, which included the pledge to abolishment Section 21 “no fault” eviction notices, has officially been scrapped. So this blog post is effectively irrelevant at this point.

I’ve written an update here: The Renters Reform Bill Is Dead (Section 21 Lives To Fight Another Day)

Abolish Section 21

Bone me sideways with an award-winning organic pickle! It’s been 3 months since I put ink to paper.

Some will say it’s been too long, others will say it’s not been long enough.

Whichever side of the aisle you sit your rotund arse on, I’m officially back from my sabbatical, and you will enjoy my return whether you like it or not, because I’ve missed you!

Of all people, my mate Michael Gove resurrected my microphone with a kiss of life. He’s been hitting the airwaves again, reaffirming the Tory party’s brazen pledge to officially bury our beloved Section 21 possession notices (England) into the ground, by the next general election (January 2025).

Well, shheeeet!

I’ve been radio silent on this issue so far because I wasn’t convinced it was going to happen for certain (I’m still not), but for the first time, I’m getting cock-sure vibes from Gove that the abolishment is imminent, within the framework of the Renters (Reform) Bill. So it’s a now-or-never moment!

You really want to do this, huh, Gove? Well let’s bloody do it then!

Initial thoughts on Section 21 getting the death sentence!

Call me Captain Sceptical, but I’m pretty sure this whole let’s abolish no-fault evictions movement is as dumb as a bum-bag full of rocks, and its single reason for existing is to help a shamelessly desperate political party win some desperately needed votes. From 11 million renters [in England], to be precise.

“WHAT? And you think Labour will do any better, you lefty-lunatic?”

Relax, darling!

Rest assured that my low opinion is shared equally among all mainstream political parties right now. Including Labour. The state of British politics is embarrassing; it’s not even wallowing in the gutter – it’s a slapstick, low-budget comedy spectacle at the local community hall carpark, one that hosts car boot sales over the weekends. It’s straight up trash.

I was briefly tempted to jump onto the bandwagon by doing the whole trendy “open letter” [to Michael Gove] thing, but then I decided against self-inflicted and imminent death from cringe. Is it just me, or are people going open-letter doolally? They seem so melodramatic and self-indulgent. Do they even achieve anything, other than clearing out my intestine from projectile vomiting?

Anyways.

Is the Section 21 ban really, really, really happening?

Dunno. Probably. (I’m not convinced.)

I take political party pledges as seriously as I take flat-earthers. But let’s hypothetically imagine that hell has frozen over and politicians are serious about delivering pledges.

Frozen Hell

Okay, I believe you then!

So let’s unwrap it…

Most people don’t even know WTF Section 21 is – and that’s a WIN for the Government!

The government isn’t really selling the abolishment of S21, what they’re actually selling is the idea of “security” for a huge chunk of society.

“Vote for us and we’ll give renters more security by banning S21”

Amazing. Sign me up!

Alas, very few actually know how that will provide security – including those that think they do – so it’s impossible for them to truly grasp the potential consequences. But no matter, the headline sells itself.

No word of a lie, I’ve yet to encounter a single abolish S21 cheerleader, including “journalists” covering the issue, that is legitimately familiar with what a S21 notice is, such as what function it serves, how it differs from a Section 8 notice, and how our clogged up (and evidently, inadequate) legal system encourages the usage of the notices.

The ignorant and widely accepted view is that it’s an unfair eviction notice that can be served on a whim at any time by landlords. It’s not. It’s technically not even an eviction notice.

Wait, is it Tuesday? Gosh, I need to hurry along and issue my tenant with a S21 notice. My tenant is great, can’t fault him, but it’s no-fault Tuesday.

The Section 21 stats are worthless. They have to be!

Pro-abolish Section 21 campaigners love reciting frightening stats, “look at how many Section 21 notices have been issued!!! Landlords are out of control, we must take back control!”

Firstly, I can’t even fathom how it’s possible to accurately track how many S21 notices have been issued. Between you and me, I don’t think it is.

Secondly, since S21 is a “no fault” possession notice, it’s impossible to know *why* the notices are served.

This reinforces my argument, there’s a prevalent lack of understanding of the legal system and deliberate attempts to misguide voters. In many cases, S21 notices are served to remove tenants at the end of the fixed or periodic term that have violated the terms of their tenancy agreement. But this is not made clear.

Landlords in mass aren’t serving S21 to remove tenants in the middle of a tenancy term for no reason – that would be mental, not to mention illegal. That’s not a real world problem, but the narrative and stats are being used to paint that picture.

When a tenant is in breach of the tenancy agreement, landlords can obviously issue a Section 8 eviction notice, specifying the ground(s) for eviction, but our quirky legal system has rendered it more efficient to use a S21 possession notice, so that’s what we often do. Basically (as many of you will already know), when dealing with rogue tenants, it’s often easier and quicker to issue a Section 21 notice and wait for the fixed or periodic term to end before repossessing the property, rather than serving a Section 8 and potentially have the ground(s) for eviction contested in court by the tenant, for a long drawn out process.

You can either walk barefoot to Scotland from England or jump on a train. Both will work. Take your pick.

In the real world, S21 notices are not solely used on the grounds of “no fault” – and they never have been.

This is sadly misunderstood by most people, and it’s a clear demonstration of how the stats and narrative don’t reflect reality.

The government is well aware of this – they have to be – but they often massage the facts to assist with their knight in shining armour pantomime.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the issuance of S21 notices increased during a cost-of-living crisis, which ironically, is strongly believed to be brought on by our own government’s making.

What’s more likely, more tenants falling into arrears during a housing and cost-of-living crisis and consequently receiving S21 notices, or a sudden uptick in landlords booting out good tenants for no bloody reason and/or greed?

Create the virus, sell the [duff] cure. Genius!

Abolishing Section 21 won’t make much difference to most decent landlords

It’s comical that there is a narrative suggesting that there is a gigantic group of landlords that are not interested in long-term decent tenants.

Do they even realise how expensive it can be to change tenants, let alone the risk involved with escorting good tenants off the premises?

Come on, this is fantasy.

Again, the vast majority of landlords don’t issue S21 notices for shits and giggles. It just doesn’t happen. That’s why, on a personal level, I’m not overly concerned about the pledge. But I do think the pledge is a shameless ruse that needs exposing.

Will killing off S21 help suppress the minority rogue landlords from operating?

Sure. And according to Gove, that’s precisely who they’re targeting. But at what cost?

Abolishing Section 21 will probably impact tenants more than landlords

While this pledge is packaged and sold as a precise operation to shut down the small minority of rogue landlords that abuse S21, the backlash will likely be, well, not so precise, with a lot of unintended targets, namely the tenants!

The poetic irony of the kill-shot.

Rudimental critical thinking suggests that if landlords don’t have an easy passage to regain possession, they will either vacate the PRS (e.g. sell-up or switch to an Airbnb/short-let model, which reportedly, has already been happening), or stick around and become more selective, making it even more difficult for tenants, including decent ones, to secure accommodation. Just by more landlords making the simple and sensible decision to make tenant guarantors a requirement will heighten the barrier to entry, one many won’t be able to overcome.

Despite popular belief, a lot of us landlords are empathetic creatures, and we often exercise great leniency by accepting applicants that aren’t always the most desirable on paper.

I suspect leniency will fall off a cliff if this pledge comes to fruition.

Moreover, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a surge in S21 notices being issued before the deadline, by landlords that have already been exposed to concerning signals from their current tenants. Once the ban kicks in, we know it might become excruciatingly more difficult and expensive to resolve issues if they escalate.

As my mum always says, “it’s better to nip it in the butt before the butt gets too big!”

’cause then you need to buy new clothes and stuff. It’s just a nightmare.

These reactions seem like obvious side-effects, so in an environment where demand for rental properties significantly surpasses supply, it feels like an objectively risky gamble for the government to make.

Fortunately, we have an incredibly robust and well-funded social housing system to help pick up the pieces if this goes to shit. Heaven forbid if that wasn’t the case.

Just as an off-the-cuff thought, how will insurance companies respond? Won’t the legal costs for evictions suddenly become more expensive, resulting in higher premiums? If so, landlords may find themselves grappling with increased operational costs – where on earth could they possibly turn to offset these additional financial burdens? It’s a mystery!

But it will be fine. We have a magic money-tree!

So, if landlords heavily rely on S21 to evict rogue tenants – a process that isn’t particularly resource-hungry on the courts, comparative to S8 – what’s going to happen once it’s binned? There’s going to be a natural and obvious increase in the usage of the resource-hungry Section 8 route. Unfortunately, our courts are already clogged up to the balls with Section 8 eviction cases.

This has been acknowledged by the government, including The Gove’ster.

But it’s okay, they have a credible solution.

Wait for it, it’s brilliant.

Ladies and gents, they have in their possession another money-tree prime to be shaken.

And it’s beautiful.

Section 8 Funding

I know what you’re thinking.

Nope, we can’t sufficiently fund our health service, police force, or education system, or any other public service for that matter. But you’re telling me landlords will have sufficient funding for evictions?

Yup, you got it.

We have been assured that there will be funds made available to our legal system so it can handle the expected increase in Section 8 cases after S21 ceases to exist (so is that an admission to how misleading the S21 stats are?).

We will have outlawed it [Section 21] and we will put the money into the courts in order to ensure that they can enforce it…

– Michael Gove

Again, call me Captain Sceptical, but my bullshit meter is going berserko. And not just because I’ve been on the NHS hip replacement waiting list for 50 years.

Speaking of which, where’s my fucking hip, Gove? Is it up Sunak’s arse?

Sadly, this might work in the government’s favour, as I can quite vividly imagine a continued overloading of the courts – even after the said funding is injected into the system – resulting in a slowdown in evictions. This can be used to claim a victory, giving credence to the amazing pledge they introduced. Brilliant.

Final thoughts…

Ultimately, if this pledge comes to pass, I believe it’s only a matter of time before tenants realise very little has changed for them, and that’s because S21 is currently deeply misunderstood and intentionally misrepresented for political gain.

*tap* *tap* Is this thing working? Where’s my security? Why am I’m still being evicted for rent arrears?

Because you don’t even know what you voted for, doofus!

However, as a landlord that relies on and craves long-term tenants, I’m not particularly worried if it gets the greenlight – nothing changes, it’s business as usual! I am, however, concerned that the government won’t be able to sufficiently pump enough cheese into the legal system to produce a bearable eviction process. I think most landlords will share the same concerns, which is why it will only result in added hardship for tenants to find accommodation.

I want to be proven wrong. Sincerely! But as it stands, I’m convinced this will end in a net negative for tenants, and this is just another fine example of politicians doing politician things.

As for my old mucker Michael Gove. As far as politicians go, my gut seems to be able to tolerate him, particularly throughout this ordeal. He’s made reasonable points, and doesn’t seem to have an agenda against private landlords; he’s been vocal about the necessity of a healthy PRS. A part of me feels like he’s under pressure to deliver this vote-winning pledge, even though he’s aware that the movement is largely driven by ignorance, and consequently may not bring about the impactful change that many are hoping for.

Rock on!

Landlord out xo

55 Join the Conversation...

Showing 5 - 55 comments (out of 55)
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Ian 16th February, 2024 @ 10:58

THE LANDLORD GAMES OVER ............... 12 MONTHS OF MASSIVE CRYPTO GAINS.

ILL BE 46 AND RETIRED,

STILL LOVE THE BLOGG EVEN THOUGHT SOLD ALL ALL MY RENTALS 5 YEARS AGO.

GREAT HUMOUR

CHEERS

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th February, 2024 @ 11:00

@Ian

Hahah, I'm with you, brother. I'm also balls deep in Crypto; I've been DCA'ing heavily during the bear market (last two years), so I'm excited about the upcoming bull-run!

Hopefully I'll be joining you in retirement.

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Jon 16th February, 2024 @ 11:25

I wonder whether this whole problem has been caused by unscrupulous landlords who care neither for the legal system nor pay tax. I have a work colleague who fits this description perfectly. They’ll still kick people out of their property at the slightest whim and threaten the tenants with aggression if they complain. It’s these individuals who are responsible for the end of S21 and what do they care, nothing!

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Mo. 16th February, 2024 @ 11:31

We need a landlord union or similar so we can pressure the govt into not passing stupid laws in fear of losing our votes! Obviously renters out number landlords but every bit of pressure helps.

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Steve 16th February, 2024 @ 11:34

Love all the scaremongering about s21 on the news, feels like every 4 years there is something new to put the Willys up decent landlords. All it ever does is drive me to look for more suitable rental properties to buy and increase the portfolio. Crack on government, whilst the weak will bail, the strong will grow. 30 plus years in the game and wouldn't swop it for a kingdom of gold.

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The Landlord 16th February, 2024 @ 11:35

Hi @Mo

I honestly don't think that will make a difference, because as you stated, renters hold the majority of the voting power. We don't have the numbers to form an effective rebellion.

Maybe I'm being overly cynical.

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The Landlord 16th February, 2024 @ 11:41

@Steve

Ha, yup, I'm with you!

I think there's been an unbalanced coverage by the landlord/property media. Everyone seems to be up in arms about it.

I've heard endless reports of landlords selling up because of the prospect of S21 being abolished, and I just think, "Christ, that just seems way too OTT. Are you sure you have thought about this though properly?"

But each to their own.

For landlords, I think we're leaning more towards a nothing-burger than end-of-the-world stuff.

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Jeremy 16th February, 2024 @ 11:45

It is a shame if they push section 21 out of the door straight away. Transition is key to sort out the kinks in how the court system will work etc. Personally, with the rental reforms if/when done correctly (Yeh right.. so pigs can fly..) will change cultural attitudes to buying a home vs renting.

Lets see if there is a transition. I am more optimistic on this.

I am more concerned if rents get capped around the country under a labour government.(if you type into google "BBC Berlin rent" you can see the impact of this sort of thing). Instead I have no idea why neither government will buy up unused land and build social housing... It might not be in the interest for us landlords in the short term but it would be good for the country.

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The Landlord 16th February, 2024 @ 11:45

Hi @Jon

Yup, I think this is a knee-jerk reaction from tenants complaining about the minority of unscrupulous landlords, which I totally sympathise with, to be honest. They should be stopped.

At some point, I think the government realised that this could be a real vote winning pledge, so they run with it. But that only exasperated the situation and made the problem seem more mainstream than it actually is.

I don't blame renters for supporting the pledge, because on the surface, it sounds like a good step in securing housing. The problem is, the issue isn't as black and white as it's portrayed to be, and there will be unexpected consequences.

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broose 16th February, 2024 @ 11:50

this blog resonates with me a lot, im not too concerned about the removal of S21 as long as theres a route to get my property back which there has to be, as i understand it that will be via a polished section 8 including a ground that you can take possession back if you wish to sell, as long as thats in place im relatively happy.

i think you hit the nail on the head when you said along the lines of tenants are wondering why they are still being evicted for rent arrears as S21 has been abolished, the reality (i guess as its what id do) is most landlords opt for S21 as its more expedient, i hate the term no fault eviction, in reality its a no reason given repossession request, is it any of the tenants business why the landlord wants their property back? not really.

that said i do think there needs to be something in place to stop tenants being evicted on the whim of the landlord, tenants make these properties there homes and this should be taken into account when deciding to let property out, its different to leasing a car to someone and taking it back for non-payment of installments for example

just to finish on a point not covered, do tenants realise that if theye evicted for fault that when presenting to the council to be housed they will be no longer considered un-intentionally homelee and will not come under the councils duty of care

the law of unintended consequences ring loud on this blog

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The Landlord 16th February, 2024 @ 11:51

@Jeremy

In many cases, legislation changes are phased in to a certain degree. For example, they may say that new tenancies starting from July 2025 won't be able to issue S21 (but tenancies started before then can). So we might see that. Who knows?

In terms of rent control, I don't think that's ever worked, and only resulted in higher rates. Isn't Scotland currently facing issues after introducing rent freezes (which is closer to home than Berlin)? I remember reading headlines about it, but haven't been keeping on top it.

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WalthamForester 16th February, 2024 @ 11:54

I had the end of a fixed rate mortgage deal come up recently and the new rates plus the income tax made the costs higher than the income, so I asked my agency to end the tenancy after the fixed tenancy agreement ended. The agency issued a Section 21 notice. There was no fault with the tenants. I just couldn't afford to keep the house. WHow would a landlord go about this in future? Would I be able to take back possession in another way? I have another few properties and when the mortgages come up for renewal I expect I'll need to do the same.

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BERYL WILLIAMS 16th February, 2024 @ 12:03

I have made a plea over and over again for as many landlords as possibleto join me to get together and stand up to these overpaid worthless politicians What about it? BERYL

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The Landlord 16th February, 2024 @ 12:03

@broose

Yup, it's been said that S8 will have to be revised in order to accommodate the abolishment of S21.

The only issue with S8 is that the ground(s) used for eviction can be contested by the tenant even if their defence is a joke, and that's how and when the landlords get taken advantage of, especially with a clogged up legal system. I don't see any way around that. Obviously this won't apply if the landlord wishes to sell, though.

"i do think there needs to be something in place to stop tenants being evicted on the whim of the landlord"

100% agreed! I'm just not sure banning S21 is the solution.

I think your final point *may* depend on the local council. You make a valid point, but I don't know if it's a universal condition. I had a DSS tenant that intentionally fell into arrears, and then requested that I send her a S8 eviction notice so she could show that she was about to become homeless, so she could be expedited for council housing. She was a single mother, so was classed as vulnerable.

Seemingly, it worked.

But I agree, and it's a good point, and I'm sure it will play a role.

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The Landlord 16th February, 2024 @ 12:08

Hi @WalthamForester

Well, it's been made clear that landlords will be able to evict tenants if they want to legitimately sell the property.

Also, rent increases won't be banned under this policy. So landlords will still be able to increase rates, especially inline with inflation / the market.

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My Landlord Cares 16th February, 2024 @ 12:14

I believe in the power of coalition and coming together. The NRLA does a cracking job at representing us landlords, but we need more. Apologies @the landlord I am an optimist and a do-er!

I do think s21 abolishment was going to happen regardless and nobody understands what this constant landlord blasting is doing to good landlords who are fed up of the constant landlord bashing!

If anyone is interested in being part of a landlord collective I definitely would be interested maybe @the landlord can facilitate or I am happy to help you. Happy to have a chat!

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Jeremy 16th February, 2024 @ 12:15

re rent control : It would be a weird one in the country. I think because there is soooo much demand for housing in the UK (buying and renting) it could be catastrophic as demand would go through the roof in the cities. I could go on all day on the list of pros and cons.

The reason why I mentioned Berlin as a use case is because in Germany it has been tried tested implemented and established as the norm. Over there they have taken more drastic steps. They have over regulated the residential property sector. Long story short the effect is : cap values have gone way up in the cities where there is heightened demand and yields are around 1-2% gross maybe less.

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Pip 16th February, 2024 @ 12:32

Agree with all your points Landlord.
I’m glad you’ve broken your silence on this topic.

I have used section 21 twice to get rid of tenants who were making my life a total misery but who stopped just short of meeting the criteria for Section 8. One set were unscrupulous crooks - a shyster lawyer - who concocted false accusations and complaints about ‘disrepair’ in order to extort money from me. He boasted to my face that he’d researched and ‘knew how rich’ I was and I was going to have to pay to make the ‘problem’ go away. Another was an entitled spoilt primadonna who thought she should be living in a tv ad. She complained about everything constantly, nothing was ever good enough, and then made it impossible for me to mend anything because she either refused workmen entry or was rude to them. She was constantly rude to me, lied about damages, (‘a bird flew into the window and broke it. Nothing to do with me trying to change the curtain rod’). She made simple things like getting the gas safety done into months of stressful drama.

Tenants can make the life of decent landlords hell in many many ways that don’t technically break contract clauses or that are hard to prove.

They have the right to leave at the end of the agreed contract - or in practise whenever they like (because who is going to try to force them to continue to pay rent if they’ve moved out? Even if they are contractually obliged to do so - take them to court etc . . .?). - so why shouldn’t we have the right to get our properties back?

I too see this as a cynical vote winning policy and part of the ongoing propaganda demonising landlords and blaming us for a housing crisis we didn’t create.

Call me paranoid, but how long before they announce landlords will be made to pay for the court evictions system? When they see how huge the caseload will be.

I suspect It isn’t just about vote winning, but it’s also about extracting even more money from landlords in future. As if the unjustifiable licensing schemes weren’t enough.

Aaaargh.

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Yvonne Francis 16th February, 2024 @ 12:35

This is very well but there is so much concentration on section 21. I'm a landlord with student houses. The problem with the RRB,is,abolishing fixed term tenancies. We will be a victim of 'unintended consequences'and completly wiped off the map! Amendments talked about may help a bit but nothing less than putting us on a par with University accommodation and the PBSA will do. Abolishing section 21 is nothing compared to this.

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Robert M 16th February, 2024 @ 13:47

Thanks as always for an interesting take on things. I think this sums up the current situation where landlords are demonised daily. Local post in my area where a person was selling some of their possessions as their landlord had issued a S21. Reading on the tenant stated their landlord was great but was moving abroad and wanted to cash in and move away. All good so far one thinks. Then the great unwashed pile in with the following comments " only a court can evict you sit tight until the bailiffs come" etc etc So we have a good tenant/ landlord relationship but the landlord wants to cash in their chips then sit on the sun. All legal all nice they just want their asset sold and gone. However the baying masses think how dare they do that the capitalist scum that they are make them fight for their asset!! Theses comments along with repeated similar attacks never mind cost of living is what's driving landlords away.

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Chris 16th February, 2024 @ 14:44

I’ve been watching this S21 thing for a while now closely…

Situation – tenants moved into a fully renovated property, inc garden, (by me) a couple of years ago. They haven’t caused any agro, paid rent on time, and are now well past the fixed-term rental stage.

My beef is that the place is a state (granted, people are entitled to live how they want, but honestly, I just want to cry), but they always seem to be at home (always want to be present on inspections, gas safety check etc), yet the car in the drive is new(ish)… and the agent takes a hefty chunk. I've been in the game long enough now that I could handle myself.

In an ideal world, I’d now want guarantors, a bigger deposit (is six months’ reasonable??), and to cut the agents out of the equation. Which would mean getting rid of the existing tenants, tidying and remarketing.

So I was kind of holding onto S21 as being my get out clause.

So, it comes down to, as the Landlord says “it’s better to nip it in the butt before the butt gets too big!”, or just live and let live. What would you do?

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David 16th February, 2024 @ 15:10

@Landlord

The latest promise is that it will be removed before the next Election.

I found this strange as it was removed from the Renters Reform Bill due to alleged IT issues (they are trying to make all Court processes digital (try not to laugh).

Look, it really does not matter if S21 route goes because it is going to be merged into S8, which itself will be given more teeth.

I tend to worry about something when I see the draft legislation and then the amendments and then the Hansards and then what finally passes.

OK you won't have ground 99 "I don't like you and want to get rid of you" but you will probably have more antisocial behaviour grounds and I strongly suspect people will need to tighten up their Tenancy Agreement terms to define things that they consider antisocial or lifestyle causing damage or disrepair, making them fit into whatever new grounds are put in place.

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Ashley Heathcote 16th February, 2024 @ 16:07

Last year I had to evict a drug dealer and another client who split from his partner and was unemployed. The drug dealer thankfully buggered off after threatening to kill me and the police were useless.
Anyway the unemployed tenant took great pride in telling me how he's been told by the council to sit fast, and when I did try to do a section 8, he came back with a cooling off period and told me they were many more tricks up his sleeve that he has been coached to delay the process. The fact that the council are supporting tenants and telling them they will be homeless, if they leave the property before being evicted, is at best illegal. However, I withdrew the section 8 and went for a section 21 no fault eviction and then took his partner through the small claims court for none payment of rent which I'm currently on at the moment. Without the section 21 I believe the process would've been dragged out probably for years. Clearly there are unscrupulous landlords but I'm not one of them and this is why I will be selling my properties in the next few years as being a landlord is becoming a mugs game. PS 22nd of May I'm at court in Huddersfield having been awarded the costs and rent, the tenant has now claimed they had a learning disability and didn't know what they were doing when they signed the tenancy agreement.

The court is dragging me all the way from Kent to listen to this crap, and so far these actions, probably cost me £17,000 plus. I will be more than happy to sit in front of an MP and explain to them why abolishing the section 21 and not replacing it with something that allows landlords like myself to get rid of tenants that are being coached to play the game of delay, is scandalous.

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Stealth Bomber 16th February, 2024 @ 16:59

@Ashley Heathcote Thats a real shame you're finding out the hard way. I started running for the hills years ago, and sold up as property became empty over time.
Removal of S21 takes away the simplest, quickest and cheapest route to getting your property back. It has nothing to do with protecting tenants at all. Anyone who thinks the Government care about tenants really need to wake up.
Its all geared to getting rid of private landlords one way or another. Whether its EPC ratings, insulation, S21, deposit caps, forced into allowing pets (for mental health!). All these things are stacked against landlords, and it will start to change rapidly, as banks start owning developments and renting property out.
Landlords are getting out at higher rates than ever. Seeing plenty of property being sold tenanted. So they're selling much cheaper than it would had it been empty, and remodelled for sale as an owner occupier.

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D Hayes 16th February, 2024 @ 17:37

Can't see losing section 21 will make any difference as the new revised section 8 will cover all reasonable scenarios - No reasonable Landlord wants to evict good tenants either under section 21 or 8.

Only downside is that lazy landlords will have to keep good records, regular inspections and keep on top of repairs, responding correctly to tenants concerns. Not a bad thing and something which is normal practice.

The reasoning is that other than selling the property or taking possesion for family, proof of reason will be needed.

The other downside will possibly be that tenants will believe that they cannot be evicted for no fault - they can simply by a landlord putting the property on the market even if it does not sell for whatever reason.

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The Landlord 16th February, 2024 @ 18:19

@My Landlord Cares

Don't apologise for being an optimist, maybe I should be the one apologising for being a Debbie-downer! Ha.

Is there a genuine appetite for another landlord collective? There are already quite a few, but other than NRLA, they all seem to be smaller branches, reaching out to small pockets of landlords. So maybe it's just a case of bringing them together.

I def don't want to be at the helm of it though! Christ, imagine that, hah!

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The Landlord 16th February, 2024 @ 18:38

Thanks @Pip, appreciate it :)

Tenants can make the life of decent landlords hell in many many ways that don’t technically break contract clauses or that are hard to prove.

Great point and very true. Let's just hope the gov bear that in mind when they restructure S8.

I agree, it does seem unjust that under the new proposal tenants have more freedom to break the tenancy than the landlord. I guess the justification is that the tenant's home is on the line, not the landlord's. So I can also see that side of things.

I'm not entirely sure how it will look, but I don't doubt that this will end up costing both landlords and tenants more money.

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Jen 16th February, 2024 @ 21:54

I can only agree with everything in your blog. It's a very sad situation for good landlords and good tenants, and good tenants do have more to lose.
I have sold one of my properties and will sell the other when or if the current (brilliant and perfect tenant) gives notice.
It's just too risky and too much hassle as you get old. I didn't buy the houses with the idea of making huge profits. Interest rates were very low and I believed I would be doing a couple of families a favour by renting out and not increasing the rents. It worked well for one house and family but not the other. It could have been much worse as it was only a few months unpaid rent plus leaving the house and garden in a disgusting state and 6 years of always chasing for rent arrears plus masses of maintenance issues during the 6 years. It gave me a lot of stress that I won't be taking on again in a hurry.
That you for your Landlord Blog it gives me valuable information and a balanced view and often a good laugh.

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The Landlord 16th February, 2024 @ 22:20

@Yvonne
Ahh, yeah, I hear ya'

I guess that's not given as much airtime because there are less student accommodation landlords.

However, I know there were discussions on U-turning on ending fixed term tenancies for student accommodation. In other words, an exemption. Has there been any more word on that, do you know? I know the NRLA were campaigning for the U-turn.

These bills always go through several stages and amendment phases. I think there's still hope for you.

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The Landlord 16th February, 2024 @ 22:29

Thanks @Robert M, appreciate it.

The demonisation of landlords has been going on for a long time, I think I'm just numb to it now. All I can do is try to be the best landlord for my tenant. If I got bogged down by the noise I'd probably be a very unpleasant person (well, I mean, unpleasant for even a landlord).

Some people are just plain unreasonable, and that's how I class anyone that blindly discriminates against all landlords, and intentionally tries to make their lives more difficult for no real reason.

It really is a sad state of affairs, and I can't blame anyone that can't be bothered to deal with it.

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The Landlord 16th February, 2024 @ 23:06

@Chris

Tricky.

I honestly don't think there's a right or wrong answer. But I definitely feel your frustration. That would also drive me bonkers.

I've sat here for a few minutes thinking about what I would do in that situation.

I decided that if it was just my tenants "lifestyle" that was the issue, then I would most likely just let them continue the tenancy, and hope that I don't make the same mistake with the next tenants after the current ones decide to vacate. But it would also depend on how much it impacts my mental health (this would likely corelate with what kind of state we're talking about here). If it's driving me absolutely bananas, then I'd put myself out of my misery by getting rid of them. Moreover, it can be difficult to be a good landlord to tenants that aren't taking proper care of the property. I think feeling resentful would be normal.

However, in your case, it's more than that. You also want to get rid of an agent that is charging you a fair chunk for a task you feel comfortable managing yourself. On that basis, your argument for cleaning house so to speak, is a lot stronger.

Personally, I would go for the ideal world scenario while it's easier to achieve, especially because it's not just about the tenants, there's more to it. I'd also ensure to give the tenants plenty of notice. But that's just me. Either way, you still have good time to mull it over.

As for the deposit, if the property is in England, you're capped at no more than five weeks’ rent where your total annual rent is less than £50,000, or six weeks' rent where your total
annual rent is £50,000 or above, as per the Tenant Fees Act 2019 :)

You can never go wrong with RGI and guarantors.

Hope that helps!

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Cyril Moseley 16th February, 2024 @ 23:09

Why can’t Section 21 “no fault evictions” be replaced with a Section 21 “limited circumstances evictions”. I haven’t thought this through completely, because I haven’t come up with a way to administer the eviction bit. The “limited circumstances could be things like “non- payment of rent, anti-social behaviour, damage to property etc, etc,. These and other problems should be fairly easy to obtain evidence for, but how to administer things from there? One way might be to evict on the basis of one of the defined circumstances, giving 2 months notice (as currently done with S21) and allow the tenant to challenge the landlord’s “evidence” during this period. What I haven’t worked out is who determines the challenge. It can’t be a court, or we are back into log-jams and delays again. The evidence should be quite easy to verify, so a fairly simple process should be possible. Could something like this have legs, or is it a pipe dream?

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The Landlord 16th February, 2024 @ 23:29

@David

I agree, I don't think it's really worth worrying about until we see the final revision of the bill. A lot is going to change in the mean time, as it always does.

However, even if Section 8 is given more teeth, we still know that "no fault" possessions are going to be removed. What we also know is that grounds for eviction under S8 can be contested - that alone gives tenants the opportunity to drag things out.

I definitely don't think the tenants' right to defend themselves can or should change, but that also means the addition of more grounds won't mitigate against exploitative delaying tactics by nefarious and opportunistic tenants.

Some grounds will likely be exempt from dispute, for example, when a landlord wants to sell the property. However, I imagine most of the grounds will likely be a case of the landlord's word against the tenant's type situation - and there lies the concern.

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The Landlord 16th February, 2024 @ 23:41

@Ashley
Absolutely horrific! Genuinely sorry you to hear you're going through that.

The council in those situations are an absolute joke. The issue for them is, as soon as the tenant becomes homeless they become their responsibility, so they try keep the tenant in the property for as long as possible at the landlord's expense. It's infuriating beyond belief.

But to your point, yup, the effectiveness of removing rogue tenants via S21 compared to S8 cannot be understated. As I said in my previous comment to David, it doesn't matter how many new grounds are added to S8 (after S21 is removed), the point is that the tenant can contest the ground(s) and take landlords around the houses.

That's precisely why I think this is only going to hurt tenants more, because landlords will become even more selective, and rightly so.

Good luck with your claim!!

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The Landlord 16th February, 2024 @ 23:50

@D Hayes

Yup, I agree, it does mean landlords will have to be more organised and diligent, but like you said, not necessarily a bad thing.

I do wonder what will be put in place to prevent landlords from exploiting the mandatory grounds for eviction for those wanting to sell their property.

What if a landlord evicts a tenant on that basis, but then changes their mind (as a devious anticipated plan or under genuine and unforeseen circumstances), so then needs to find new tenants?

I guess we'll have to wait and see. But that does seem like an obvious exploit.

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D Hayes 17th February, 2024 @ 01:32

As far as I can see, if under new section 8 rules a landlord wants to put a house up for sale - proof that the house is on the market in the form of a sales agreement with an estate agent is as much as can be expected.

I very much doubt that the new section 8 could restrict your legal right to sell your property.

In essence if you could only sell as a rental property with tenants it would make all rental properties - rental properties for life - you would then see the rental property market fall through the floor overnight (social housing excluded from these comments)

Possible challenges from a tenant could be that the property has been deliberately overpriced and had no viewings but in reality proof that the property is for sale with an agent is as much as any court could require.

Once vacant it just becomes a house - there can be nothing to stop an owner, selling, keeping or even renting it out again.

Yes it looks like a loophole but who knows how it will be worded.

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NW Landlord 17th February, 2024 @ 13:34

Great example of a section 21 tenant is causing hassle and upset to the two ladys who live either side. He's a nasty bully who gets off on trying to upset and intimidate them. House is dirty and scruffy, but not excessive for an eviction.

Both lady's complain to the landlord, but are too afraid to make any formal complaint. Tenant isn't brave enough or stupid enough to display this behavior towards landlord.

Do I leave them in misery, or evict section 21 and save them the possible wrath of the weasel?

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Alec 17th February, 2024 @ 16:05

@Ashley, you can delay moving out after a S21, it's not like it's quick if the tenant doesn't want it to be or their circumstances don't allow it to be.

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The Landlord 18th February, 2024 @ 10:54

@NW Landlord

Sadly, that's a no-brainer for me. I would personally serve S21.

He just doesn't sound like a nice person, and no one should have to deal with that. I also believe that reflects poorly on the landlord, to house someone that is disruptive to the local neighbourhood.

That scenario is precisely the kind of edge case that will be insanely difficult for landlords to manage once S21 is abolished.

I feel bad for the neighbours, life is difficult enough; bullies are parasites to society.

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The Landlord 18th February, 2024 @ 10:59

@Alec,

That's true, but it's a lot easier to drag it out and for the landlord to incur ongoing legal costs with S8.

With S21, there is "no his word against mine" scenario in court. If S21 is served under the correct circumstances, it's a straightforward judgement.

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Doreen 19th February, 2024 @ 18:19

I am retired and in the future will want to sell my one rental propertu to realise my capital. I have a good tenant, (single man on low income) but my feeling now is that I will serve a S21 notice sooner if they are due to be abolished, as I really don't want the hassle of serving a Section 8 and maybe a long court process. I would want to sell the flat, but won't necessarily use an agent as I have a lot of contacts and know some people who might like to buy it. Eventually I would have sold it anyway, but in a few years, not now. Also he if leaves voluntarily in the meantime I will certainly not rent it out again.

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Cher Mon Mau 23rd February, 2024 @ 16:48

I wish I could bottle up these tears (and rent them out at an exorbitant rate). Keep them coming!

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Chris 28th February, 2024 @ 18:17

Thanks @Landlord; food for thought.

Interestingly, I didn't know about the six weeks/Tenant Fees Act 2019 deposit capping thing. Out of interest, these stories you read about landlords in London demanding six/even twelve months' upfront? How's that work then?

(FYI, yup, I've got RGI!)

Rgds

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The Landlord 29th February, 2024 @ 08:35

Hi @Chris

Well, technically, rent upfront is not the same as a deposit, so the landlord can't use that money for anything else e.g. deduct from it to cover the cost of any repairs (presumably, nefarious landlords do anyways).

I've always considered rent upfront a double-edged sword, for both landlord and tenants.

Although, thinking about it, it's probably going to become a more popular request if S21 does get abolished. I never really thought about that until you mentioned it. Interesting.

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Grumpy 15th March, 2024 @ 12:07

S21 is just another slice in the death by 1000 cuts of the private rental market.

Landlords for get that the house they are paying for is the Tenants to do what they want with.
In the end the maximum you will ever get back to repair it is a months rent after hour and hours of paperwork to the DPS.

Glad to see Stealth bomber above is still here. Think they escaped and sold up similar time to me.

Incoming Komrade Starmer, rent controls, smaller deposits, right to buy your property and what ever price the house was when they moved in!!!!

The ships going down. Get a life boat.

All the best
Grumpy

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The Landlord 15th March, 2024 @ 17:08

@Grumpy,

LOL @ "S21 is just another slice in the death by 1000 cuts of the private rental market."

True.

But long story short, for various reasons, but particularly inflation and excessive national debt and money-printing, I'm still confident in my BTL investments!

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William 26th March, 2024 @ 11:57

Welcome back! Just got to Reading this as I also now read that the promised reforms are going to be quietly dropped! My experience of S8 was shocking and a joke. I began to wonder if I was on candid camera .... it took 12 months to get VP of my trashed flat and loss of 12 months rent. My tenant is still at large presumably shafting some other unwitting landlord.
A much bigger gripe is the absurd anomalies when trying to enfranchise our leases by way of our legal entitlement to a collective purchase of the freehold. If an asset is in bona vacantia one can do this by way of a set multiplier of ground formula dealing with the Cibil Servants in the Treasury Solicitor. If however the property is deemed to be in Escheat one has to deal with the Crown Estate, more Civil Servants, albeit with posh titles, but who still answer to the Treasury as Civil Servants! The difference is the Crown Estate are difficult to deal with, instruct expensive private consultants for which we are expected to pay AND who demand roughly 4 times what one should be able buy the "asset"by use of the BVC4 Government formula! Furthermore the Crown Estate do not enter into any negotiation. Take it or leave it. Given the Crown Estate never collects rent nor contributes anything other than red tape to property or asset management, one has to wonder why they are involved when their process is so obviously not in the public interest. The consequences of this head in the sand approach is that effected landlords will not be to raise finance to invest in ageing stock in too many cases due the shortness of their leases and accommodation will deteriorate and become a loss to the overall stock as it becomes non compliant with yet more Government interference. If ever anything property needed urgent reform the Crown Estate should be bound by the same rules as any other body who controls property where tenants wish to exercise their legal right to enfranchise at a fair regulated price. Escheat was established by William the Conqueror. It is universally regarded as archaic for decades and the Government needs to abolish Escheat once and for all rather than focusing on "Gotcher" politics and misguided intervention.

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Grumpy 28th March, 2024 @ 07:19

There is only one thing that determines house prices, and that’s interest rates. The gamble is will they go up or down from here? House prices will follow.

My brother just sold his 2 rentals.
Sales price £470k-£500k each.
Rents were £1500/month each.

That’s a yield of ~3.7% before expenses, mould, rent arrears, damage 😉

I get 4.7% for instant cash in IBKR bank account.

If someone still holds a Property now, you are hoping that interest rates fall and the value of the house rises. There is no point holding it for yield.

As you mentioned Fiat Currency before you may be aware of this site. An interesting chart of the price of all things
https://wtfhappenedin1971.com/

Anyway you can’t sell your houses and still keep this blog going. It would be a loss to us all.
All the best
Grumpy

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William 28th March, 2024 @ 10:12

Depends on which sector of the buy to let one is working in Grumpy. With limited and shrinking stock due to everchanging compliance,tax,Govt intervention many landlords are quitting,at a time cap values are steady/increasing.This must be seen in context with rising rents due supply and demand.By the time you have paid income tax on the bank interest and factored in the lack of capital growth I believe sectors of the market still offer much better returns than any bank will pay.

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William 28th March, 2024 @ 20:00

Hi William,
I’m sure there are a few areas where you might get some returns that exceed the bank. These inevitably come with more hassles.
I’ve seen some HMOs with 10% yields but that still pre expenses. Most people do have the properties in a Ltd company hence cannot offset their mortgage costs.

Even at the current finance rates of ~5% (and not declaring it and BTL), theoretically the house prices should have rolled back to last time we had those interest rates- 10 years ago.

Clearly no one will sell for half what they paid, not yet anyway. Hence they hang on.

It’s a one way assault by the Gov on the Landlord.

They will be increasing CGT taxes, more regulation etc, keep squeezing until people squeak.

Remember the labour Gov in the 70s had 98% tax rates on “unearned income”

Good luck, but keep in mind these politicians see landlords as a very easy political whipping boy and will not stop until there are no small landlords left!

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William 29th March, 2024 @ 22:23

Yes many good points. But whatever Govt does usually from a misguided thought that they know what they are doing, simply kicks the ball down the road. Moving assets from buy to let to 1st time buyers etc .... who benefits from a furthur loss of rental accommodation etc ?
Intervention does not work. We need a balanced market not one driven by Civil Servants and Politicians who have never worked in the real world so gave no clue.

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