Landlords have warned against the proposed abolition of Section 21, saying it will leave them powerless to deal with anti-social tenants who may be distressing neighbours and disrupting local communities.
The National Landlords Association says that in a survey of over 40,000 landlords, 14% reported tenants engaging in anti-social activities over the last 12 months.
This ranged from drug abuse and prostitution to playing loud music.
Currently landlords or their agents can use ‘no fault’ Section 21 notices to gain possession of the property without having to put neighbours through the ordeal of having to give evidence at court.
If Section 21 is abolished, as the Government wants, the only alternative will be to use a Section 8 notice, which allows landlords to repossess the property if they provide a valid reason and can provide sufficient evidence to satisfy a court.
However, says the NLA, in practice this process all too often proves an unworkable option as anti-social behaviour can be difficult to prove without witness statements, which can be hard or impossible to get.
It says the process is costly, lengthy and puts all involved through months of unnecessary stress.
Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NLA, said: “If landlords lose the right to issue a section 21 notice, they will be left virtually powerless to deal with anti-social tenants living in their property.”
“Local communities often hold landlords responsible for the anti-social behaviour that takes place in their properties.
“But landlords cannot be blamed if they do not have effective tools to deal with the problem.
“In cases where the main issue is noise, alcohol or drugs, it can end up as your word against theirs, the reality is that neighbours and other tenants are sometimes just too afraid either to report cases of anti-social behaviour or testify in court.”
Meanwhile a ‘coalition’ of various bodies has formed to lobby for the retention of Section 21.
It says that Section 8 is not fit for purpose.
Coalition members include ARLA, the National Landlords Association, Residential Landlords Association, and safeagent (formerly NALS), plus a number of other bodies.