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"Clear link between rising house prices and no-fault evictions".

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"Clear link between rising house prices and no-fault evictions".



Private landlords out to make a quick profit from rising house prices are contributing to increasing homelessness, says Dan Wilson Craw (Generation Rent) 

2 November 2016 9:59 am



The cross-party support for the Homelessness Reduction Bill at its second reading on Friday was a welcome spectacle. But for all the debate about whether councils are doing enough to help families find a new home before the bailiffs knock, there was not enough interrogation of what creates the problems that have become so urgent and unifying.

Homelessness is on the rise because the number of cases caused by the ending of an assured shorthold tenancy have quadrupled since 2009. In the same period evictions through the ‘accelerated’ procedure have trebled.

This suggests a link, but unfortunately we don’t know what the reason for this rise in evictions is because under Section 21 landlords don’t have to give one.

One culprit may be rent arrears, which have been exacerbated by rent inflation outpacing wages, and changes to housing benefit, but the rate of arrears has not increased since the recession – it’s actually fallen.

Generation Rent believes the real driver is amateur landlords selling up. The English Housing Survey has estimated that between 2010 and 2013, 57% of private sector evictions arise from landlords wanting to sell or use the property for another purpose.

This week we published research which showed a clear link between rising house prices and no-fault evictions. At a local authority level, for every 10% increase in house prices, there’s a subsequent rise in accelerated evictions of 60%.

A sizeable minority of the private landlords are not in the business of providing long-term homes, but seeking capital gains, or to maximise rent by churning tenants. Section 21 exists for them. Most landlords want long-term tenants and wouldn’t dream of turfing out reliable households – they run a business and don’t plan to quit. If a tenant fails to meet their obligations there is a separate eviction process.

Tenants can’t pick a good landlord any more easily than they can decide to roll a six. If they are to enjoy any sort of certainty over their home, there needs to be minimum standards that apply to all landlords.

Generation Rent suggests that tenancies should be indefinite by default, with landlords being required to give grounds for repossession, and paying compensation to blameless tenants who are forced to move. Three months’ rent would cover the upfront cost of finding a new home.

These restrictions on no-fault evictions would discourage landlords from evicting tenants on a whim, while giving tenants who were forced to move a soft landing.

The reduction in evictions, and the ability of tenants to move before being evicted would also cut the number of people presenting as homeless.

This policy on its own wouldn’t reduce rents but it would reduce the unnecessary and stressful upheaval created by this section of the private rented sector.

By supporting the Homelessness Reduction Bill and changing its rhetoric on homes for rent, the government is acknowledging the challenge of the housing crisis. But if it believes that the interests of private renters are more important than those of hobbyist landlords, it must reform Section 21


Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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