Eviction is a Last Resort According to Many Landords
A major new survey has revealed that landlords are reluctant to evict tenants, and when they do it’s for serious rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.
The study, for the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), challenges persistent claims that private landlords decide to evict their tenants when asked for repair work, in vengeful ejections.
The survey of more than 1,760 landlords discovered that 56% had evicted tenants from their properties. Almost 90% said that they had carried out evictions for rent arrears, with another 43% for anti-social behaviour. Nearly 40% were for damages to the property, and 20% for drug-related activity.
Less than 30% of landlords wanted to regain possession of the property, for reasons such as needing to sell. The RLA states that the survey proves that the majority of private landlords only seek to evict tenants when it is necessary.
Eviction is a Last Resort
Chairman of RLA, Alan Ward, explains: “We have been very concerned about claims that retaliatory eviction is a widespread practice, when there is very little hard evidence to back up those claims. As our survey underlines, the vast majority of evictions are down to rent arrears or anti-social behaviour. Landlords are being threatened with more regulation which would simply make it harder for them to evict bad tenants when they need to.”
A private members’ bill to prevent these retaliatory evictions has been proposed by Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather. However, the landlords who responded to the RLA survey rejected claims that they would evict a tenant if they asked for repairs.
Many of the landlords said that eviction is a last resort, and called for a more balanced debate. Their comments include:
“I would only ever evict a tenant if they were not paying rent and behaving badly/breaching their tenancy agreement.”1
“The system is heavily biased against landlords. More consideration and emphasis should be placed on providing support for, not demonising, landlords.”1
“We seem to be easy and popular targets. This is disappointing for those of us who provide good quality housing and ethical treatment.”1
“It’s not all good tenant, bad landlord.”1
“We positively encourage our tenants to tell us about repairs that need doing so that we can leap on top of maintenance and prevent small repairs from turning into major repairs.”1
The RLA has expressed concerns about calls for Section 21 notices to be overhauled. These allow landlords to gain possession of properties at the end of a secure shorthold tenancy.
Ward says: “If landlords see Section 21 under threat they will withdraw from the sector. Landlords are frightened that they cannot evict tenants who are in rent arrears or who are guilty of anti-social behaviour easily and cheaply. We still have complaints that even under Section 21 there are costs and delays involved in obtaining possession.”1
Other concerns include the possibility that tenants in rent arrears could put in false repair claims to prevent eviction, if the moves to stop tenants being evicted for a period of time after they have requested repairs, are employed.