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Thinktank battles landlords over evictions ban claims


The Social Market Foundation (SMF) has argued that fears about stricter regulations reducing the supply of rental properties are ‘overblown’.

In contrast to the NRLA, the thinktank says a recent watering down of the Renters (Reform) Bill - which aimed to prevent landlords from exiting the market - delaying plans to end no-fault evictions, was misguided, based on the experience in other countries.

Its research finds that Scotland, which banned no fault evictions in 2017, has seen the number of households in the private rented sector increase.

Meanwhile, Australia has shown that the introduction of greater regulation of tenancies and protections for renters has not had an impact on total supply levels.

Outside England, longer tenancies are much more common, such as in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland which have both adopted indefinite tenancies.

In Ireland, the policy does not seem to have affected housing supply, despite the warnings of landlords; since the initial legislation was passed in 2004, the PRS has doubled in size.

Mixed results

In its report, Let down, the SMF says economic theory suggests caps on rent should discourage landlord investment, leading to shrinking supply and reducing the quality of properties. Yet it found that such policies are widespread across Europe and have more mixed results.

As well as abolishing no fault evictions and moving to rolling tenancies, the group recommends strengthening the rent dispute system to make it easier to use, along with licensing and registering landlords or creating a non-compliance register.

Co-author Niamh O Regan (pictured) says English renters get a bad deal. “Fixed term tenancies are too short, and no-fault evictions make periodic tenancies too risky,” she adds.

“What’s more, cash-strapped councils and fragmented dispute resolution services are unable to consistently guarantee minimum standards, allowing bad landlords to continue to operate.”


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