Last month the government released its long-awaited white paper “A fairer private rented sector” which sets out plans to reform the private rented sector and level up housing quality in this country.
As part of this, it confirmed that section 21 “no fault” evictions will be abolished and the industry will move away from the current tenancy structure to a simpler structure of periodic tenancies, which will enable tenants to terminate on two months’ notice at any time. The intention is to give more flexibility to tenants, who will no longer be tied into any fixed term and empower them to challenge the threat of eviction without good reason, thereby incentivising landlords to engage and resolve issues.
Many landlords will be concerned by the loss of section 21, as it means they may find it more difficult to remove tenants. However, landlords must also recognise there is a greater possibility of ending up with a void period as landlords will no longer be able to tie tenants into fixed contractual terms so could end up with a vacant property at any point on two months’ notice.
Landlords will also be banned from discriminating against tenants with pets or those receiving benefits. Landlords who are forced to allow tenants with pets are concerned about the mess and further damage to their properties, with some we have spoken to mentioning that allergies would mean they would be unable to enter their own properties to carry out routine checks.
There is already a growing number of landlords exiting the private rented sector (PRS), owed largely to an increase in regulation and tax hikes, including stamp duty changes on buy-to-let and the loss of tax-free allowances.
This means these latest upcoming changes are a major cause for concern. Smaller buy-to-let landlords with one or two properties say the new plans make their business models unviable and they will have to sell up for good.
The more landlords who leave the PRS, the fewer rental properties that are available for tenants, increasing competition and unintentionally increasing rents.
New landlords are not coming into the sector, reflecting the challenging environment in the private rented sector.
The white paper says that landlords’ possession rights will be strengthened in cases of serious arrears and when a landlord wants to sell a property. But many landlords are concerned that the eviction process will be more difficult if they need to prove wrongdoing such as anti-social behaviour as this is often difficult to prove.
The Government must release more details of the eventual legislation to retain landlord confidence. If they fail to make changes which support landlords, they will exacerbate the housing crisis by forcing landlords to sell up at a time when renters are struggling to find the homes they need.
We are already being contacted by landlords looking for a quick sale who just want out of the private rented sector.
If you are a landlord looking to sell some or all your portfolio, contact us to discuss your options. We can buy your property and pay all the fees, transacting within a matter of weeks or to a timescale that suits you.
Phone number: 0207 938 3007