Landlord Associations To Meet And Discuss Discriminatory Rental Measures

Disillusioned with the perceived victimisation of landlords in recent years and exacerbated further by the announcement of Section 21’s imminent destruction, an array of leading landlord groups and organisations are set to meet to discuss the available options open to them in defending the rights of landlords in England and Wales.

The National Landlords Association, Landlord Action, Landlords Alliance and Residential Landlords Association are set to collaborate on a solution to the issues they feel are prevalent in the private rental market.

Whilst Theresa May claims the banishment of Section 21 evictions will help safeguard responsible tenants, ensuring that they are offered “long-term certainty and the peace of mind they deserve”, many have claimed that it could prevent landlords from being able to easily evict problem tenants.

Following the governmental announcement, there has been criticism that the government’s desire to create a fairer private rental market for tenants will have adverse effects as many will likely leave the sector, narrowing the pool of available property further and potentially diminishing tenant choice.

Whilst many organisations working in the privately rented sector are pleased that tenants have more power through the various reforms that have taken place this year, many fear that the pendulum of power could swing too far in the opposite direction which will decrease investor confidence and drive landlords to leave the sector.

Further reforms to the eviction process are currently being considered in England and Wales with criteria to Section 8 evictions also likely to change. A Landlord Action survey of 263 landlords found that 25% are looking to leave the sector if Section 21 is abolished. Furthermore, a third said that they would only remain with significant amendments to Section 8.

Evidence suggests that perspective investors are already turning their back on the buy-to-let sector. The RICS survey for April has highlighted that the private rental market could face more upheaval than any other. Tenant demand is on a ‘gently upward trajectory’ of 3% for the next five years whilst landlord instructions continue to ‘dwindle.’ The latest decline in the number of properties registered by landlords continues a pattern that stems back to the summer of 2016.

This figure of depression in the buy-to-let sector is the longest uninterrupted sequence of falling since records began in 1998. The report states that the situation is only set to worsen with anecdotal evidence suggesting the Tenants Fees Bill and the proposed abolition of Section 21 are set to deter investors from entering whilst also encouraging landlords to leave the sector.

In a drastic, last ditch message to the government, the Landlords Alliance have overwhelmingly agreed to prevent tenants on benefits from renting their properties in the future if they are restricted from accessing similar protections to those in Section 21.

If this measure is adopted on a mass scale, it could mean over 4 million renters, currently on benefits will need new accommodation sources which could be a monumental problem for the government.

Larry Sweeney, CEO of the Landlords Alliance, said:

“Our members will no longer accept benefit tenants and I envisage this policy spreading like wildfire.

“Naturally we will be accused of discrimination. This is a red herring.

“The Government is now on the cusp of a crisis because who will house benefit tenants.

“Last year we attempted to get Shelter the housing charity who house nobody, to bond benefit tenants. Shelter refused but pushed to get S21 scrapped.

“Landlords up and down the land will now turn their back on social tenants and this crisis has been manufactured by Shelter and this failed government.”

As a range of landlord groups steady themselves to review their cards before playing their hand and flexing their muscles, it is clear that the government may need to appease this sector of the housing market to avoid widespread chaos and a potential exodus from the buy-to-let sector.

Does the government need to review Section 21 before it is permanently abolished? Are the actions of landlord groups mere bluster and empty threats? How toxic is this current section of the property market becoming?

Today's Conveyancer