NRLA commences battle for fair eviction rights

The National Residential Landlord’s Association (NRLA) has launched a campaign demanding change to eviction legislation, prior to the implementation of the Reform Bill. ;
Eviction Rights

The National Residential Landlord’s Association (NRLA) has launched a campaign demanding change to eviction legislation, prior to the implementation of the Reform Bill.

NRLA launched their campaign on 1st of December 2020.

The Reform Bill, which will bring about the end of Section 21 repossessions and will implement stricter eviction measures, was pledged in 2019 by the Conservative Party. It has been discussed widely in the news this year.

The controversy around the Bill is the removal of Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions, to a wholly court-based eviction process (Section 8 notice).

There has been significant strength of feeling, from all sides, on the removal of Section 21.

Tenant groups support the move, with the view that numbers of evictions will reduce.

However, landlords fear that an already stressful and costly process, will only be worsened by having to take all evictions through the courts.

Why is the NRLA taking action?

The NRLA is keen to support a process that is fair to both landlords and tenants. However, they feel that current legislation falls short of this objective. Their campaign proposes alterations to address this.

Chief Executive of the NRLA, Ben Beadle expressed his concerns over the Reform Bill:

“As the Government prepares this important Bill, it needs to enjoy the full confidence of both landlords and tenants.

"Our proposals are for fundamental reform of re-possession rights which strike the balance between the needs of both. The over-riding aim is to sustain tenancies wherever possible or bring them to an end in a collaborative way.

“We hope that Ministers will accept our proposals and act on them soon.”

The NRLA have consulted their 85,000 members to ensure that they are the voice of landlords when it comes to their proposals and has defined 3 clear objectives that they believe should be reviewed before inclusion in the reform bill.

Clear grounds for possession

First and foremost, the NRLA want the government to outline a robust definition of grounds for possession.

They are seeking the closing of loopholes, removal of excessive bureaucracy and a review and rectification of flaws in the existing legislation.

They have also clearly outlined the processes and timescales they believe should be associated with each ground, as well as highlighting where amendments need to be made to make sure all parties are clear on the regulations.

Changes required for most common types of eviction

Late or non-payment of rent, damage to property, anti-social behaviour and sub-letting are the most common reasons landlords seek to evict tenants.

Of these four key reasons to evict, the NRLA has highlighted that changes are required to three of them, to achieve a fair and robust process.

NRLA is seeking to tighten the loopholes surrounding rent arrears, tighten up rules relating to antisocial behaviour convictions, and include stricter guidelines regarding subletting.

They have highlighted though, that grounds to evict relating to damage to property are adequately covered in existing legislation.

In its campaign, the NRLA has reviewed every Section 8 ground for eviction and has highlight areas they believe require change, ahead of the withdrawal of Section 21.

Conciliation and court reforms

The greatest concern for landlords is the switch to a court-only eviction process, which at present the NRLA say, “is not working for landlords or tenants”.

Excluding the most serious cases, such as criminal activity, the NRLA has proposed that a publicly funded conciliation service should take the place of the courts, until a specialist housing court or tribunal can be installed.

They propose that this structure should take the form of a 3-step escalation service, aimed at directing landlords and tenants away from court proceedings.

They highlight that this conciliation service, whilst incurring a cost, will alleviate funds from other services, as well as reducing the costs for landlords and tenants alike.

Lifetime deposits

The proposal recognises the Government’s suggestion of lifetime deposits, however, the NRLA are keen to make it clear that landlords should not be discouraged from making valid claims for damage to their properties.

They have proposed two alternatives, a financial bridging facility and a deposit builder ISA.

The first of which would assist with the transition period of a renter, where a new landlord could feel confident in their deposit, whilst it was still being held under decision for the previous property.

The deposit builder ISA, builds upon the idea of the Help to Buy ISA. The money would not be accessible to either party unless court-ordered, or the account was closed, potentially to be used to buy a property.

To read the full campaign, click here.

This information should not be interpreted as financial advice. Mortgage and loan rates are subject to change.