19 Feb What landlords should be doing before the end of Section 21
End of Section 21?
It won’t have escaped anyone who works in the private rented sector’s notice that the government intends to abolish non fault evictions. The Renters Reform Bill has yet to be presented to Parliament but with support for the changes across parties it would seem prudent for private landlords to take stock of the expected changes and take action if and where appropriate.
Below are some things you should be thinking about ahead of these changes coming into effect but, prior to that, lets look at what is being proposed and why…
What is actually being proposed?
One of the main proposals is for the use of ‘no fault’ evictions to be abolished by removing Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (this effectively removes the use of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy). There is also provision for grounds of possession to be extended (for example – to include where a landlord needs to sell a property or live in it themselves) and for the court process to be improved to enable landlords to get their property back sooner. The court process at present is slow and costly as anyone who has used the housing court will know.
Why abolish no fault evictions?
There is a general feeling that no fault evictions affect the well being of tenants and their families. It’s not so much that the no fault eviction is used regularly – it more that the mere fact it can be used causes families anxiety and insecurity. Where families need to move regularly, children’s education can also be affected – leading to even more stress for families that rent.
What private landlords should be doing now…
- Choose the right tenants. I cannot stress this enough. Getting the right tenants in is the best way to ensure a stress free tenancy.
- Ensure good reference checks – include a credit check, employment and landlord reference.
- Do your own ‘due diligence’ (check a tenant’s demeanour, presentation, social media accounts)
- Ensure that any discrepancies in information provided is followed up and that you are happy with the result
- Use your gut feeling – if something doesn’t seem right – step away. Bad tenants are much more costly than a void period.
- Ensure that you comply to all relevant legislation and keep meticulous records of your compliance in case you need to prove this.
- Ensure you have good insurance protection.
- Including damage usually included under standard insurance policies but also malicious damage by tenants, rent guarantee and income protection. A standard homeowners policy will not suffice – you must hold a landlord’s insurance policy and, if you fail to mention to your insurer that your house is tenanted you risk having any claim rejected.
- Keep records of any fault by tenants. That way, if you do need to use one of the grounds to remove them, you will have the evidence to do so.
I guess the only other thing to say is that if you are having any issues with any of your tenants not paying their rent… now might be a good time to say good bye using the non fault eviction process whilst you can.
Thanks for reading … if you would like to chat about anything lettings, please give us a call – we’d love to get to know you!
Emma Macgregor MARLA
PS: if you are looking for a ‘smart let’ (www.robinsonreade.co.uk/quick-let-or-smart-let/) call us today on 01489 579009 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for honest, expert and friendly advice.