Latest changes to the Renters (Reform) Bill published a few days ago highlight the legal hill that many landlords with anti-social tenants will have to climb, it has been claimed.
Back in March Rishi Sunak said to much fanfare that he wanted to crack down on anti-social behaviour and that as part of the initiative he would be giving landlords more powers to evict unruly tenants who “ruin their neighbours’ lives through persistent noise or by being drunk and disorderly".
But details within the 100 pages of amendments published a few days ago to the Government’s renting reform bill reveal a different picture.
Paul Sowerbutts, Head of Legal at eviction specialist Landlord Action, warns that evicting anti-social tenants after Section 21 is abolished will “be an ‘up-mountain’ rather than ‘uphill’ battle for some landlords".
He points out that after Section 21 goes – and assuming the ‘broken’ courts system is sorted out first, as has been promised by Michael Gove – evicting a tenant for anti-social behaviour will be ‘discretionary’ or in other words, at the discretion of the judge and therefore somethign that will require court time.
Going forward agents and landlords will have to work much harder to prove that tenants have behaved so badly that they should lose their home, and also prove that they have been given a reasonable time to mend their ways.
As one expert explained yesterday within a discussion forum, “put simply, it will require a lot more court time than a section 21 [eviction].
“The only way this can be realistically achieved is via a system of specialist housing courts, but [the new bill] is a start and gives us an indication of how existing courts will handle anti-social behaviour.”
One ray of hope is that rogue tenants will have to cooperate with their landlord’s attempts to moderate their behaviour before legal proceedings start and if they don’t, it will be one of the grounds on which a judge can decide to grant an eviction warrant.
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