Landlords demand fast-track tribunals to deal with problem tenants

House-For-Rent-Home-700.jpgFour out of 10 landlords want the government to introduce a fast-track housing tribunal if it goes ahead with plans to ditch Section 21 of the Housing Act, which allows for ‘no fault’ evictions. 

This survey by Paragon found that a quarter of landlords want a shorter court process, and the vast majority (84 per cent) want the maximum time for serving notice to be no longer than eight weeks. 

Section 21 allows landlords to give tenants two months’ notice of their intention to take possession of a property at any time after the initial fixed term of the tenancy agreement has expired. 

In April this year the government announced an intention to abolish this provision. Instead it proposes that landlords use the existing Section 8 process, which requires them to demonstrate that tenants are in breach of their rental agreement when serving notice.

Landlords groups have argued that this may make it harder to evict problem tenants – and are calling for more effective legal redress as a result. 

Alongside a fast track tribunal, almost one quarter of landlords in Paragon’s survey (24 per cent) called for a shorter court process, one in seven (15 per cent) would like a guaranteed way to cover their costs, and 7 per ent argued for the ability to submit evidence online.

According to the MHCLG’s recent English Private Landlord Survey, the vast majority of tenancies end at the tenant’s request.

However, when announcing this change the housing secretary James Brokenshire said there are concerns that these section 21 notices were contributing to homelessness and poor housing standards. Research by Citizens Advice found that tenants who made complaints to their landlords had a 46 per cent chance of being evicted within six months. 

Paragon director of mortgages John Heron says: “Some of the main concerns for landlords around a move to the Section 8 eviction process relate to the efficacy of the existing court process. 

“What we see here is widespread support for a fast track housing tribunal that can deliver a fair and timely solution for both landlords and tenants.”

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