One of the country’s leading newspaper columnists has laid into government plans to abolish Section 21 – the means landlords have of claiming back properties without having to give a reason.
Charles Moore, writing in the Telegraph under the headline ‘Why take a tenant if you cannot evict them’, says that abolishing Section 21 will create sitting tenants.
He says that along with sitting tenants, rent controls will have to be created, while the property itself could halve in value.
Moore, a former editor of the Telegraph, says that landlords let houses not so much for rental income – “The profits are not large because the costs are high” – but because the property is a “store of value and a hedge against inflation”.
If the opportunity for profit disappears, they will stop offering homes for rent, and new landlords will not come forward to replace them.
Moore warns that if Section 21 is abolished, the landlord will be stuck with the tenant and the prospect of lower returns.
He also warns: “If it is abolished, so that no notice to quit can ever be served, the incentive to let disappears.
“The value of the property thus encumbered drops, sometimes halves.
“Besides, sitting tenancies require rent controls to work.”
He concludes: “An unmovable tenant creates, over time, an unworkable business.” And while ministers might see the abolition of Section 21 as a “levelling up” of rights, Moore concludes: “Actually, it is more like closing down.”