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NRLA hits back at Shelter for ‘sensationalising’ no-fault evictions

  • 03/05/2022
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NRLA hits back at Shelter for ‘sensationalising’ no-fault evictions
The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has accused homeless charity Shelter of presenting a “disappointingly one-sided picture” over no-fault evictions.

Last week, Shelter published a report into the issue, suggesting there had been a dramatic increase in the issuing of Section 21 notices. This is where a tenancy is terminated, without the landlord providing a reason.

Shelter cited figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, which showed that 5,260 households in England were issued with these notices in the final three months of 2021, a jump of more than 168 per cent on the same period in the previous year.

However, the NRLA said that Shelter’s analysis was unbalanced, and risked sparking “needless anxiety” among tenants over the likelihood that they too would be turfed out in this way.

In an open letter to Shelter, Ben Beadle (pictured), chief executive of the NRLA, pointed to the fact that the vast majority of tenancies are ended by tenants rather than landlords as well as arguing that landlords often use Section 21 notices because the alternative Section 8 route ‒ where a distinct reason is provided for seeking possession ‒ “is not working as it should” rather than because there is no reason to seek repossession.

He continued: “At present, the Section 8 ground for anti-social behaviour is all but impossible to use properly. Where neighbours and fellow tenants are suffering as a result of such behaviour, as things stand now Section 21 is the only viable option to take swift action against people causing problems.”

In addition, he pointed to Ministry of Justice data which shows that using a Section 8 notice can take a landlord almost a year between application to repossess and obtaining possession.

Section 21 notices are due to be scrapped as part of the ‘levelling up’ programme from the government.

Beadle emphasised that the NRLA supported the proposals to scrap Section 21, so long as a viable replacement was introduced, and highlighted previous testimony from Ruth Ehrlich, policy manager at Shelter, to the Public Accounts Committee in which she acknowledged that with the scrapping of Section 21 notices “there will need to be reforms to Section 8”.

Beadle concluded: “Rather than sensationalising the issue, we would welcome discussion about how you would propose tackling these important matters, particularly the problem of anti-social behaviour perpetrated by tenants. Simply continually calling for the abolition of section 21 without any discussion of the delicate issues associated with its removal, as articulated here, does nothing to advance the debate.”

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