Why S21 must stay: £29,000 arrears and £2,000 mess left by tenant

The government and local authorities run by all political parties are keen to advocate measures to curb rogue letting agents and landlords – but there is another side to the story.

A property in Warrington was left by a tenant coated in grime and mould and littered by things like half-eaten food containers, pet food and medication. Many of the fixtures and fittings, including the carpets, have been damaged beyond repair.

Landlord David Wright has spent £2,000 on clearing the property of rubbish and waste, and faces a bill of additional thousands of pounds to repair the damage.

He has also been left with rent arrears of around £29,000 which he is unlikely to recoup according to Legal for Landlords, the law firm representing him in gaining possession of the property.

The law firm says the first hearing was adjourned following false allegations from the tenant, while the second hearing saw a possession order granted.

“This case illustrates why plans to abolish Section 21 are so dangerous for landlords’ rights – the images are shocking, but it’s unfortunately not unusual. It’s vital to have a robust legal mechanism in place to reach a resolution in a timely manner” explains Sim Sekhon, managing director of Legal for Landlords.

“While a Section 8 notice was used in this instance due to the severity of the damage and the extent of the rent arrears, there are many more where that wouldn’t be appropriate. Section 8 alone doesn’t have enough teeth to protect the landlord and, for many, it’s frankly a terrifying thought that this outdated legislation is all they may have to protect their interests.

“The reality is, the court system is a mess and has been for over a decade – it already takes far too long to secure possession of a property. Our team has seen cases that have taken upwards of 10 months to resolve from start to finish, which is just utterly unacceptable, particularly where there is progressive damage taking place inside the property. There are unscrupulous landlords out there, and I’m supportive of secure tenancy, but the wholesale dilution of landlords’ rights isn’t the way to tackle the issue.”

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