Private landlords are setting out a manifesto of radical changes for the rental sector, starting with more repossession rights.
The demands are made by the National Residential Landlords Association in its proposals for the Renters’ Reform Bill.
With the government committed to abolishing section 21 the NRLA is calling for fundamental reforms to the rights of re-possession that are fair to both tenants and landlords.
The plans outline grounds upon which landlords should be able to regain possession of their properties. This includes tenant rent arrears, anti-social behaviour and situations where landlords want to sell.
Where possession notices are challenged, the NRLA is calling for the creation of a new, publicly funded conciliation service, similar to the employment dispute body, ACAS.
This would seek to resolve disagreements between landlords and tenants without the stress and costs associated with going to court.
The most serious cases, such as those related to criminal activity by a tenant, would need to go straight to court but most could be considered by the conciliation service.
This would help the tenant and landlord to reach an agreement to keep the tenancy going or bring the tenancy to an end in a way that works for both parties, the NRLA claims. Both tenants and landlords would be able to access the advice and support they needed to make their case.
Where landlords failed to abide by the terms of the agreement they would be banned from being able to re-possess the property using the same ground for six months. Where renters did so, the case would be fast tracked through the courts.
With possession cases taking many months to be considered and ruled on by the courts, the NRLA believes its proposals would reduce the courts’ workload ensuring they can more quickly consider and act upon cases that do come before them.
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, says: “As the government prepares this important Bill, it needs to enjoy the full confidence of both landlords and tenants. Our proposals are for a fundamental reform of re-possession rights which strike the balance between the needs of both. The over-riding aim is to sustain tenancies wherever possible or bring them to an end in a collaborative way.
“We hope that ministers will accept our proposals and act on them soon.”
The NRLA is today hosting a webinar on its proposals.
The speakers will be the chair of the Housing Select Committee, Clive Betts MP; Hunters chairman and Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake; the chief executive of Crisis, Jon Sparkes; and the NRLA’s Ben Beadle.