Housing Secretary Michael Gove has admitted that the Renters Reform Bill won’t help landlords claw back money from absconding tenants.
During the Bill’s Second Reading, Shrewsbury and Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski (main image) spoke about his constituent Jan Childs who had rented out a property in Much Wenlock to an individual she got into a dispute with.
“He has now scarpered, owing my constituent £10,000, and nobody seems to be interested in helping her to retrieve the money — neither the police nor the local authorities. How will this Bill help my constituent Jan Childs to retrieve her £10,000?”
Gove explained that it was not so much the Bill, but the steps the government was taking to improve the justice system that would help.
He said: “It is always the case, no matter how well framed any piece of legislation might be, that if you’re dealing with unscrupulous characters who seek to evade justice, we have to rely on the agencies of the criminal justice system to pursue them.”
Their exchange highlights the struggle most landlords face when tenants build up arrears before leaving their property; they can apply for a court order for money against the tenant, but face legal costs and added hassle, so many decide not to bother.
During the debate when other MPs were keen to cite cases of tenants being unfairly evicted, Gove had some consoling words for the sector.
“Landlords are good things, we need landlords in order to provide homes,” he said. “It’s nothing to be ashamed of to be in the business of providing a safe, decent home for someone, and there’s nothing wrong for people who have saved and worked hard to be investing in property.”