Conservative-led reforms of the Housing Act transformed the PRS from the dirty, down-at-heel business it was in the post-war years to a professional business where most landlords respond to healthy competition by offering high standards and competitive rents. Investment rose dramatically, fuelled by the prospect of sensible returns.
Labour is fast undoing 30 years of progress in the PRS, by forcing up Landlords’ costs, and constantly eroding their rights. While they claim that they value the PRS and its contribution to housing, their actions speak of a socially-divisive administration which is resentful of those who have built successful businesses, and is determined to punish their success at every step.
Nowhere is this more apparent than the laws and procedures governing evictions. As a landlord you cannot evict a tenant until the end of the tenancy fixed term (usually 6 months, sometimes 12). If the tenant has given grounds – through non-payment of rent, or anti-social behaviour – for eviction, the landlord must serve at least 2 months’ notice. If this is ignored (which it often is), he must then apply for a court order for possession. With court delays and the notice period granted, this typically takes 2 months or more before it is effective. Even then, the tenant has the right in law to remain in the property until a bailiff is appointed to enforce the court order; and local councils and Citizens Advice Bureaux are all too keen to point this out to defaulting tenants. Getting a bailiff can take 8 weeks or more (due to waiting lists), and legal costs by now usually exceed £1000. So, all in all, a tenant can stop paying rent after the first month, and the landlord must then wait 7 months or more to obtain possession, and pay legal costs on top of lost rent revenue.
In any other business, this would not be allowed. In any other country, it would also not be allowed. Take the USA: it takes just 14 days to re-possess a property when the tenant has stopped paying rent, and the court cost is a fraction of what it is in the UK.
When is this government going to stop defending the rights of those who deliberately sponge off society and legitimate businesses? If this government wants landlords like me to continue providing decent housing both to private renters and benefit-claimant tenants, when is it going to level the playing field and start defending MY rights?
Have your say on this story using the comment section below