Often, local communities hold landlords responsible for the anti-social behaviour that takes place in their properties. The National Landlords Association says that in a survey of over 4,000 landlords, 14% reported tenants engaging in anti-social behaviours such as noise, drugs and prostitution over the last 12 months.
Currently, Section 21 can be used by landlords in England and Wales to evict tenants after a fixed term tenancy ends if there is a written contract, or during a tenancy which has no fixed end date if tenants are engaging in these behaviours.
Landlords can use ‘no fault’ Section 21 notices to gain possession of their property, without having to put neighbours, often the victims of the anti-social behaviour, through an ordeal at court giving evidence. The current Government wish to abolish Section 21, leaving landlords feeling “powerless” to deal with anti-social tenants who are affecting their neighbours and community. If it is abolished, a Section 8 notice will have to be used, allowing landlords to repossess a property if they can provide enough evidence to satisfy a court.
This may mean that victims of Anti-Social Behaviour will have no choice but to testify in court if they want the problem resolved. This process is costly, lengthy and puts the already distressed victim through further, unnecessary stress. Furthermore, in cases where the main issue is noise, alcohol or drugs, which are common complaints, it can often end up as your word against theirs. Additionally, neighbours and other tenants may be too scared to testify in court, or even report the issue in the first place.
Campaigners including the National Landlords Association and the Residential Landlords Association believe that Section 8 is not fit for purpose and are forming a coalition to seek retention of Section 21.
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