Calls for streamlined eviction process for UK buy to let landlords
A swifter and more streamlined eviction process in the buy to let sector in the UK would encourage more landlords to enter the market and provide a greater choice of properties for reliable tenants looking for private rental accommodation, it is claimed.
Landlord Assist, a tenant eviction and rent recovery firm, is backing calls for fast track evictions amid speculations that the government is planning to put measures in place to speed up the eviction process for private landlords following concerns that pressures on the courts are leading to lengthy delays.
It is understood that landlords and some housing charities have been asked to attend a government working group to discuss proposals and possible options to speed up the eviction process for private landlords.
For many landlords launching eviction proceedings against troublesome tenants can result in them going months without receiving any rent. Stories of possession claims taking between six and 12 months from start to finish are not uncommon and, at a time when a tenant may not be paying the rent, landlords can go a long time without receiving any income from their properties.
For some landlords this can result in them falling behind with mortgage payments and have a detrimental impact on their credit rating.
Graham Kinnear, managing director at Landlord Assist, believes that amendments to eviction procedures would be welcomed by landlords in their efforts to remove nuisance tenants who refuse to pay rent or have anti social behaviour issues, and replace them with good ones.
But he says that good reliable tenants would also benefit from an accelerated eviction process as it will help to weed out unscrupulous tenants, who often keep them out of the best properties. Moreover, Kinnear believes a quicker eviction process may encourage more landlords to enter the market which would provide tenants with a greater choice of properties too.
‘We do not feel that there is a real need to alter the grounds of securing a vacant possession or the methods by which a landlord can gain possession of their property. What we would like to see is a swifter possession service which will reunite the landlord with their property in a timelier manner. This will help to minimise the losses incurred by many landlords and may even encourage further landlords to enter the market place, which would help to address the current housing shortage in the UK,’ explained Kinnear.
‘At the same time introducing a swifter eviction process will also support decent tenants looking for rented accommodation as they will be able to replace troublesome tenants much quicker than is currently the case,’ he added.
Stephen Parry, commercial director at Landlord Assist, pointed out that the current housing shortage in the UK means there are many good tenants looking for rented accommodation who would be in a position to replace evicted tenants. He advises landlords that the best way to protect themselves from rent arrears is by carrying out reference checks prior to the tenancy agreement.
‘Referencing is a key part of the letting process and remains a simple and affordable way for landlords to paint a vivid image of their tenant. Background checks on tenants are essential and should, as a minimum, include a credit report plus references from previous landlord and employers,’ he said.
‘Only with this type of information can landlords be confident that tenants can afford rental payments and meet their tenancy obligations,’ he added.