New Bill will aid troublesome tenants?

A new legislation aimed at reducing the number of retaliatory evictions ordered by landlords has come under fire from the Residential Landlords Association.

The Tenancies (Reform) Bill was introduced by Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather. She believes that the bill will work in favour of tenants asked to vacate their property by landlords upset by claims about the condition of their home.

Opposition

However, the RLA believe that the new legislation will make it increasingly difficult for landlords to combat troublesome tenants. The RLA refute claims that landlords evict tenants without a valid reason. In addition, they believe that the changes could result in a lack of confidence in an already shaky private rented sector.

Chairman of the RLA, Alan Ward, said that, ‘this proposal would cause serious damage to a flourishing sector which is providing much-needed homes for rent.’ He added that the, ‘majority of landlords do not and will not evict tenants for no reason.’[1]

Ward thinks that, ‘landlords need to be able to deal with nightmare tenants who cause misery in their communities and those who just won’t pay their rent.’ He says that by removing landlord freedom to evict these types of tenants, ‘would be a charter for anti-social tenants.’[1]

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Debate

The bill is due to be debated on the 28th November. If passed, the bill would affect landlords’ ability to utilise a Section 21 notices during any eviction process.

A RLA survey of 1,760 landlords seemed to proved that landlords do not evict tenants without due reason for doing so. Of those questioned that had regained possession of their property, around 90% said that they had done so due to tenant rent arrears. 43% said their reasoning for eviction was anti-social behavior, 40% due to malicious damage and 20% for drug-related offences.[1]

Approximately 30% of landlords said they wanted to regain their possession of a property for reasons such as needing to sell on the property for personal reasons.

Ward agrees that retaliatory evictions are wrong, but suggests that there are already sufficient measures in place to deal with unscrupulous behavior. He says, ‘Retaliatory evictions are wrong and there are already regulations in place to deal with any such abuse by a tiny minority. But there’s no evidence to suggest such drastic action as proposed in this bill is necessary. Instead of helping tenants, it risks discouraging landlords from providing the homes the country desperately needs.’[1]

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