Shelter says scrapping Section 21 would be vote winner for the next Prime Minister

Shelter has urged whoever becomes the next Prime Minister to take advantage of the “tenant vote” and get on with scrapping Section 21 eviction notices in England – using the launch of open-ended tenancies north of the border in December 2017 to highlight why.

The housing charity has analysed the first 18 months since the introduction of the private residential tenancy (PRT) in Scotland – that effectively launched open ended tenancies.

It admitted it will take until 2020 for all renters to be moved onto the new form of tenancy, but found that despite warnings of landlord exits and rent hikes, the sector has remained the same size and there have been no “unusual increases” in the cost of renting.

A poll of 752 renters by the charity found those on the new tenancy were half as likely to say they worry about becoming homeless as those on the old tenancy.

Similarly, renters on the new tenancy were half as likely to say they felt locked into their contract and couldn’t move.

The research also found that renters on the new contracts were more likely to say politicians cared about them compared with those on the old-fashioned versions.

This, Shelter said, provides evidence that the Government south of the border should pursue its commitment to consult on scrapping Section 21.

Shelter said: “Abolishing Section 21 isn’t just good for renters – it promises more trust in the elected officials who give them stronger rights.

“Our research found that renters on the old tenancy in Scotland were twice as likely to strongly believe that politicians do not care about renters than those on the new tenancy. Clearly, the introduction of stronger rights for private renters has boosted faith that politicians genuinely care about them.

“The results of the 2017 election suggest that private renters are an increasingly politically salient group.

“The turnout among private renters also jumped by 8% – more than any other tenure.

“As private renters face poor conditions, unaffordable rents and weak security of tenure, it’s unsurprising to hear that they let out their frustration at the ballot box.

“Ultimately, our research in Scotland shows that renters are feeling the benefits of increased security in the private rented sector thanks to the move to PRT.

“Whoever replaces Theresa May as PM should take note: you have the opportunity to genuinely improve renters’ lives and win the support of a group of voters who could, sooner or later, have a critical influence in the outcome of a General Election.”

However, landlords have disputed the findings.

David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, said: “Shelter fails to recognise key differences between England and Scotland.

“The only reason the Scottish model has worked is because a properly funded and staffed housing court was established to cope with the dramatic increase in repossession cases needing to be heard.

“Across England and Wales it takes an average of over five months for landlords to repossess properties through the courts. This is not good enough.

“We call on Shelter to back the RLA’s plans for a dedicated housing court that can process repossession claims in legitimate circumstances without frustrating landlords. Simply tinkering with the existing courts will not work.”

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16 Comments

  1. JamesB

    Good luck with the supply of housing and rent levels shelter !! .. but you will get some useful publicity I’m sure .. landlords will just get the blame for selling up anyway and making tenants homeless.. so it’s a win win for shelter and government

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  2. Will2

    So what? And landlords and landlord associations say it won’t as neighbours and other residents suffer as landlords struggle to deal with anti social behaviour quickly and effectively due to the most effective tool being removed and court costs rise!
    mind you the next prime will no doubt be as self serving as the rest of the politicians.

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  3. JMK

    So Shelter have apparently forgotten why S21 was introduced in the first place.

    I for one have decided enough is enough.  I’m selling properties and some of the tenants have been in place for more than a decade.  They had no reason to feel insecure until now.

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    1. Will2

      Government think landlords will not sell or the properties will be purchased by other landlords. I feel the same as you.  I think some landlords are holding back waiting to see what proposals are put forward.  They could end up with a nasty surprise! and would desrve it. I vow NEVER to vote Conservative again and labour would be suicide, as would lib dems.

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      1. JMK

        Undoubtedly some will be sold to other landlords.

        In my area there is a company operating that was set up by another council.  They are buying stock to let out, but not to social tenants.  They are operating in the ‘market rate’ area but being a company they are not subject to S24 and also exempt Selective Licensing.  I have already sold one to them and am negotiating on another.  I’m hoping I can leave the tenants in the second one in situ.  We have discussed a third property but the tenant has been in place for some years.  I always had the policy never to increase rents until the coming of S24 have forced me to start doing so.  As a result the rent is well below market rate and the company want me to give notice to the tenant before they’ll consider purchasing.

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  4. Bert

    It appears Shelter has now morphed into a charity advising politicians on how to win votes. That’s a long way from being a charity for the homeless. I suppose when your CEO’s salary is more than most politicians it is, nevertheless, easier to work with politicians than the homeless who have nothing.
    Private landlords provide well over 4.3 million homes in the UK often on margins of 2%-3%. Shelter continually chooses to ignore the fact that the majority of the PRS is well run. Other homeless charities, for example Social Bite, are now building and providing homes for the homeless. They are clearly taking practical steps to resolve homelessness.
    Shelter seem determined to carry on with their political campaigns to ensure that the PRS is destroyed and private landlords leave the market. 
    Two direct questions for Polly Neate. With Shelter’s £67,000,000+ annual income how many homes have Shelter built or provided for the homeless? When private landlords have sold up and left the market who does she think will house 4.3 million households?I look forward to her response.

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    1. Gromit

      Quite right. Real charities should be apolitical. That doesn’t mean it can’t lobby the Government of the day but to openly try to “sell” the Tenant vote to a political party is not on. 

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  5. Ryan Baker

    And history will recall that it was for a cheap publicity and shortsightedness  of some idiots at Shelter that ultimately caused more harm to tenants and the poor than anything…Many landlords are now preferring to keep the property empty than to let to a marginally risky tenant. Agents are not taking tenants seriously and ultimately it’s the tenants who are suffering. Ever since the ban , i see more and more tenants walking in and they’re desperate as they’re struggling to get a property. It will get worse for the relatively poorer part of the society. The only people who could rent would be the ones which are on the highest payscales and the best of the jobs. As an agent no one would risk putting a marginal pass tenant in. Landlords are fearing the same section 21 removal hence becoming more picky. The only sufferers are the poor and vulnerable.

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    1. Gromit

      Shleter will be campaigning next on discrimination on grounds of income, that Landlrod should let to anyone irrepesctive of their ability to pay.

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    2. PossessionFriendUK39

      Ryan,

      Your Absolutely right,  but politicians are only looking for the short term vote and the longer term impacts of their policies have gone totally over Most tenants heads.

      I would add Tenant groups heads also.

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  6. RosBeck73

    You will see that they make no mention of landlords’ concerns. They say tenants, in the scenario of no Section 21 existing, feel secure they can stay and secure they can leave. They don’t mention that under the same proposed system, landlords feel insecure they can’t get rid of bad tenants or good tenants when they want to sell and feel insecure that tenants – who may have told them they want to stay for years – can up and leave whenever they want at any time of the year, leaving the landlord in the lurch. Such one-sided contracts are ludicrous.

    This is the same organisation which is now running a survey asking for landlords’ views, under the auspices that they would then want to work with us.

     

     

     

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    1. Gromit

      “This is the same organisation which is now running a survey asking for landlords’ views, under the auspices that they would then want to work with us.”
      This is just window dressing  so that they can say to their opponents they’ve “consulted” with Landlords. If few Landlrods respond they’ll say that those “nasty” Landlords do not want to engage

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  7. Gromit

    Why isn’t the NLA/RLA doing something similar to show that the new PM will lose the “landlord” vote if they continue with abolishng S.21?

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    1. LetItGo

      There are 4.7M rented homes. Thats 9.4M potential tenants and 9.4M landlords. tenants may vote for it, landlords may not.

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  8. Simonr6608

    Shelter have removed the article from their website as they were using data from before the changes in Scotland came in to force. Once again Shelter proves how out of touch and anti PRS they are.

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  9. Bert

    Hopefully Ros will be able to put some of the questions raised in these comments directly to Shelter so we can see their response!

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