Ban no-fault evictions? Why this is dangerously worse for ALL renters!

Never underestimate the stupidity of a Tory government … and especially when it comes to housing policy. I wouldn’t trust them with housing policy on a …

wendy house

The lowest home ownership rates since 1983 a 67% increase in recorded homelessness a 169% increase in rough sleeping and an admission that we have a national housing crisis all bear testament to that.  The party that stopped paying grants to social landlords, the party that has cut in massive terms housing benefit to the private sector, cut LHA to as little as £53 per week for those under 35, the bedroom tax, the overall benefit cap, the extension of the right to buy for HA tenants, Help to Buy fiasco and so many more policies of the incompetent absurd characterise Tory housing policy.  And now they announce the most dangerous of the lot – the banning of no-fault evictions!

Eh! You what?  How can getting rid of no-fault eviction be dangerous and anything other than great news for renters Joe?  Ok reader, I’ll rephrase that – banning no-fault evictions is THE most dangerous ill-conceived superficial bollocks that will make the lot of the renter so, so much worse … and below are a few of the reasons why.

First and foremost the private landlord will from today onwards;

  • go on a spree of issuing s21 no-fault eviction notices and getting rid of existing tenants ahead of any change leading to a huge spike in homelessness, and;
  • will avoid the perceived riskier tenant by beating them around the head with a bargepole in each hand!

Just the announcement of some future banning of no-fault eviction (s21) and which many legal commentators see as not being introduced until 2022 at the earliest will doubtless mean the two points above as the private landlord will see this banning of ‘no-fault’ evictions move as a huge threat.

From today ALL potential new private sector renter will be seen as an increased risk by the private landlord and as with every other industry greater risk requires greater financial reward … or in short private rent levels will increase to reflect this greater perceived risk and private landlords will be even more circumspect over which new tenants they take on.  Both of these aspects and which are inevitable sees the lot of ALL private renters getting worse with this announcement.

Every prospective private renter in every town and city will now see increased private rent levels and many more of them denied private renting because they are perceived as higher risk.

This doesn’t just affect general needs rented tenants but everyone who is in a homeless hostel or in a domestic violence refuge as the exit from these is mostly to the private rented sector.  If hostels and refuges can’t move people on then they can’t move people into homeless hostels or domestic violence and abuse refuges!

Yet today we see Polly Neate the chief executive of Shelter and previously chief executive of Women’s Aid lauding the proposed removal of the no fault eviction on mainstream TV, radio and across social media when the policy will see more homeless on the streets and more women having to suffer domestic violence and abuse because there is nowhere they can flee to that is available! 

Today we also see the rump of the social rented sector lauding this proposal too as good news.  Let’s hope every housing association stops using ‘starter tenancies’ with immediate effect as these too can be ended by a no-fault eviction as they are the same AST tenure as used across the private rented sector and last year official figures show 83% of new housing association tenancies were these no-fault eviction starter tenancies.

Many do not realise that housing associations used no-fault eviction tenancies for 5 in every 6 new tenancies (as CORE data reveals) and are but one step removed from the 6 in every 6 no–fault eviction tenancies used by the private landlord … and today’s news is being mis-sold as stopping no-fault evictions in just the private rented sector when they are common in housing associations too! In short all purported social landlords put up or shut up and stop being hypocrites!

The explosion in homelessness this NFE announcement means as inevitable means that local councils costs of rehousing those who are homeless in dingy, mould and vermin ridden private sector B&B’s and chicken coops will rise exponentially and we were told last week that 75% of councils can’t afford their new duties under the Homeless Reduction Act and which with today’s announcement could easily double the number of homeless cases local authorities have to deal with!!  Shit, fan and proverbial for local government!

You still think the NFE announcement is a great deal for renters reader?  Oh dear it is an unmitigated disaster and I have barely touched on the issues that will inevitably flow from just the announcement and from today and 3 years ahead of this policy ever coming in!

The Housing First model has been dealt a mortal blow as there is no way in the world now that properties will ever become available for this deluded theoretical nonsense that cannot work in the UK with this announcement so there is at least some good news.  Rough sleepers are perceived as the riskiest of all ‘client groups’ to rehouse direct from the streets and by private and by social landlords … and today’s NFE announcement also means social landlords are going to have massive increased demand for social housing properties as consequence of PRS eviction and de facto unwillingness to house any risky client group at all … which in turn means that even those social landlords who wanted to get in on the Housing First financial gravy train will now have to go back to the drawing board and revise all such business plans.

Why would social landlords house such risky clients when they can have far less risky full-time and in-work prospective tenants banging on their door?  Increased risk equals increased cost in the social landlord mentality just as it does in the private landlord one and with social landlords constrained from increasing rents then bye bye Housing First clients will happen!

I could go on and on but the case is proven that the NFE announcement means that ALL things are going to get much worse for ALL renters and the policy proposal is THE most dangerous of the lot from this idiotic Conservative government who any sane rational person would not allow to determine housing policy for a Wendy House!

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UPDATE – The government has formally announced this here yet still nothing more as to substance or timing

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SIGNIFICANT UPDATE – 9PM

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This blog has received many kind comments and as many detracting ones and the latter have unsurpisingly come from the SRS and lawyers in the homeless field who will see their incomes soar with the banning of NFE – so no surprise there!  But let me put this really simply staring with two questions:

  1. Do you pay a higher interest rate if you have a poor credit rating? YES!
  2. Do you pay more for medical insurance if you have a health condition? YES!

Two obvious examples when you pay more if you are considered to be a higher risk and symptomatic of how business works and always will work. I ask a third question equally rhetorical:

What deluded minds think making all existing and future private renters being seen by private landlords as a greater risk and will pay more makes any sense?

Rest assured that is what banning no-fault evictions will do and private landlords wanting increased revenue for this perceived increased risk is inevitable and how business works and always will work.  This is no counter-intuitive nonsense about the superficiality of the morally correct decision to ban no-fault evictions, it is merely a case of stating the bloody obvious.

It is also much more than perceived risk to PRS landlords it is actual increased risk and actual increased costs to private landlords and that can only manifest in increased costs passed on to private renters … and is another statement of the bloody obvious that sees banning no-fault evictions mean higher costs for private renters.

Increased PRS landlord costs and why homeless lawyers love the banning of NFE?

Currently, any private tenant who receives a s21 notice is told by a housing lawyer that he has a miniscue legal chance of challenging the private landlord wish to take the property back.  By consequence most private tenant leave and do not go to court as it is extremely cost-ineffective for them to go to court.

The private landlord knows this too and hence does not incur legal filing costs or the costs of legal representation because the private tenant invariably leaves.  When NFE is banned the private landlord will incur court filing costs and the costs of legal reprsentation and these will be significant added costs of managing private rented properties and means those added (anticipated) costs will be passed on to the private renter in higher rent costs … another case of stating the bloody obvious … as is saying the homeless and housing lawyers are cock-a-hoop at the prospect of NFE being banned as their income will increase significantly.

Thus anyone who says private renting tenants will win out with the banning of no-fault evictions (NFE) is severely misguided and mistaken.

Additionally, I mention Shelter in my original 10-minute post and said how they are euphoric at the banning on NFE when it will, undoubtedly, increase homelessness and domestic violence.  The same Shelter (with the National Housing Federation) are running a campaign to #EndDSSDiscrimination and the banning on NFE will only make far more private landlords operate it!

Finally, this policy will vary significantly across different English locales and however the legal wording is phrased.  For example the typical English town or city has 19% of its housing in the PRS yet my home city of Liverpool has 29% of its housing being in the PRS, or 53% higher than the average English city.  So the adverse impacts I describe above will impact far more severely in Liverpool and other high PRS areas.

Another locale impact will be Blackpool which has 72% of all housign benefit claimants living in the PRS and compares to the average town or city having 30% of its housing benefit claimants in the PRS.  Blackpool like all coastal towns has a high PRS percentage of its housing stock and 11 of the 13 highest proportion of housing benefit claimants being in the PRS are in English seaside / coastal towns.  The adverse impact of banning NFE will impact far more adversely in English coastal towns.

These are just some of the undeniable factual variables that sees any generic notion of the PRS as one universal construct that will have one set of impacts being as naive as the Monopoly player who believes a house on Old Kent Road is worth the same as a house on Mayfair!

This NFE banning proposal IS ill-conceived in the extreme and just my quick points on locales above demonstrate that a full impact assessment of the proposal needs to be completed by government and well ahead of any consulation on this proposal.  That will not happen as the proposal is nothing more than electioneering and knee-jerk … and if enacted will be distastrous for the private renting tenant of today and tomorrow and all tomorrows.

 

 

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