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Section 21 and why landlords will still hold all the keys in housing


Section 21 and why landlords will still hold all the keys in housing

SP Chakravarty says the market is inherently rigged against renters, David Griffiths wants court procedures reformed and Rev Paul Nicolson says fighting evictions will be a challenge
Man holding out house keys
‘An amended section 8 process could be used by landlords if they want to sell the property or move in themselves,’ says Rev Paul Nicolson. Photograph: Brian Jackson/Alamy

You are too kind in your view of the consultation paper (Editorial: Better protections for ‘generation rent’ are welcome – but only a start, 17 April). It is not a start. It is worse. It is an obfuscation of the source of the problem: the tax-benefit system is not neutral between home ownership and rental. Renters are abandoned in a rigged market at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords willing to take advantage of a severe shortage of accommodation. The rewards from rule-breaking are higher for landlords, as you point out, than any penalty that might be incurred through bad behaviour.

The underlying problem is housing finance. The paper is silent on that. Interest rates and lending rules, as a matter of policy, reward leveraged purchases by those lucky enough to be able to borrow. This is especially so because the government does not challenge inflationary expectations in housing investment. This would require articulating a credible programme for increasing supply, including social housing. That would then remove any financial incentive for landlords to evict tenants at whim.

We would not be having the discussion about tenants having the right not to be evicted without cause if the rental market was not crudely rigged against tenants.
SP Chakravarty
Bangor, Gwynedd

Tom Booth (Letters, 16 April), suggests a parallel between no-fault divorces and no-fault evictions. But either party can initiate a divorce, so the analogy would require good tenants to be able to “evict” (dispossess) bad landlords, which he might find a step too far. If the problem is, as he suggests, the slow pace of civil court procedures, the solution is to reform those – for example, by establishing properly resourced housing tribunals – rather than to impose insecurity of tenure on tenants to manage a rogue minority.
David Griffiths

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