An organisation representing landlords with problem tenants has raised concerns about whether there are enough resources available, particularly at local authority level, to make it possible to fulfil the demands of new Section 21 regulations introduced on the first of October.
The start of the month saw changes to the S21 form and the rules surrounding a landlord’s ability to make use of a Section 21 notice. The changes included a new provision deeming that S21 notices cannot be served during a tenancy’s first four months and that that there is a six-month lifespan effective on each notice.
Landlord Action, a group set up to help landlords facing problems with tenants, has recognised that the alterations in legislation are aimed at ensuring best practice in a growing private rental sector but has criticised the lack of government funding put into landlord education in relation to the changes, especially given the short timeframe between them being announced and implemented.
The founder of Landlord Action, Paul Shamplina, highlighted these concerns by pointing out that the group’s advice line still gets calls each week from landlords unaware of deposit scheme regulations – which were implemented eight years ago!
Shamplina has long been against Section 21 changes said to be needed to prevent ‘revenge evictions’ by landlords, claiming that this problem only applies to a very small minority of landlords.
The evictions expert is concerned that the government has paved the way for tenants to abuse the system by using the legislation to stay for longer in properties without paying rent.
The new Deregulation Act 2015 means that tenants now have a four-month period at the start of a tenancy to complain to a landlord about issues of disrepair. Shamplina believes that reputable landlords will deal with issues within the required two-week period but questions whether local authorities have the resources to carry out inspections if required.
He says that if landlord’s circumstances change, making them want to end a tenancy, they may end up having to wait around for an inspection or to be allowed access by the tenant.
Shamplina believes that rules preventing a landlord from serving a S21 notice for six months after a council improvement notice is served could result in a ‘huge’ rise in tenant complaints and add to the ‘landlord bashing’ culture which he claims still prevails.
Landlord Action was set up in 1999 by a group of landlords who wanted to find an alternative to employing costly solicitors who took too long to act in the case of tenancy problems.