One in four landlords to sell property if ‘no fault’ evictions are abolished due to fears over tenancies

by | Aug 25, 2022

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Although aimed at improving the private rented sector, a proposal to abolish controversial ‘no fault’ evictions could lead to a quarter of landlords selling property, new research from The Mortgage Works highlights.

A poll of more than 700 landlords gauged reactions to the government’s ‘Fairer Private Rented Sector’ white paper, which sets out a range of proposals – from removing Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and the creation of a landlord register.

Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions:

Just 22 per cent of landlords were supportive of the proposal to abolish ‘no fault’ evictions with many landlords concerned they could be left vulnerable to difficult tenancies, despite such evictions being the biggest single cause of homelessness in England.

If Section 21 was abolished, more than half (56%) of landlords admit they will be more particular about the tenants they accept. This is an especially prevalent view amongst those landlords with larger portfolios with 62 per cent of those with 20 or more properties saying they will be more particular.

Perhaps more concerning is that a quarter (25%) of landlords admit they will sell some or all of their properties if this proposal happens. That rises to nearly a third (32%) of those landlords with large portfolios of 20 or more properties.

National Landlord Register:

Some 62 per cent are supportive of a landlord register while 32 per cent oppose the idea. Part of the lack of support may be because more than half of landlords (53%) do not believe introducing a National Landlord Register will have any impact in deterring rogue landlords. That rises to two thirds (66%) of landlords with 20 or more properties.

When asked why they don’t believe the introduction of a National Landlord Register will deter rogue landlords, comments included:

  • “Rogue landlords have no concern about the law.”
  • “People who are desperate for somewhere to live will rent from unregistered landlords.”
  • “Rogue landlords don’t operate within the law now, so why would they join a register?
  • “Rogue landlords will always find a way to get away with their practices because there are not enough enforcement officers. There will always be the worst off in society who will settle for less than is lawful in legislation just to get a roof over their heads.”

Decent Homes Standard:

According to the poll, the one area that most landlords were supportive about was around proposals for the Decent Homes Standard to cover private rental properties, with 83 per cent of landlords supportive. More than two thirds (68%) of those polled believe their properties already meet the new standard.

However, of those that will need to undertake work to bring the property up to standard, 56 per cent would use their savings to fund that work. However, around a third (33%) admit they will be putting up the rent in order to improve the property if the minimum standards are ushered in.

Dan Clinton, Director of Landlord at The Mortgage Works, said: “We believe everyone should have a safe, secure and comfortable home, which is why we are committed to improving standards within the private rented sector. The proposals outlined in the Government’s white paper should serve to have a positive impact on housing quality and conditions for tenants.

“While landlords appear to be largely in favour of a National Landlord Register and Decent Homes Standard, it is revealing that one in four would consider selling in the event of Section 21 being abolished. This highlights the importance of listening to landlords’ concerns as these policies take shape, particularly when considering the broader set of regulatory changes already affecting them.

“A mutually beneficial private rented sector needs to offer tenants the security they will not be evicted without good reason, yet also provide landlords the confidence they can gain possession of a property quickly and efficiently if something does go wrong, such as anti-social behaviour. As a buy-to-let lender, we are keen to understand how the changes will be implemented, to ensure we fulfil our role of helping to balance the needs of landlords as well as tenants.”

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