Burnley landlords have hit back at reports of almost 200 local families being evicted in the last five years, explaining that given current circumstances it is "hardly surprising more landlords in Burnley... are reported as now wanting to leave the rental sector."
Following the release of data from the Ministry of Justice which showed that 189 households in Burnley were evicted in the five years leading up to March this year including at least 42 “no-fault evictions”, a Burnley Landlords' spokesperson has pointed out that reality is quite different and that it is in landlords' interest to retain good tenants for their own income.
According to the statistics, 42 of the Burnley evictions were subject to a “accelerated possession” court order used to remove tenants who have not left the property by the date set out in a section 21 notice. In these cases, tenants can be given as little as eight weeks’ notice to leave once the fixed term in their tenancy agreement expires.
Despite the Government themselves pledging to abolish such measures with Theresa May vowing to end "unfair evictions" to stop landlords being able to "unexpectedly evict families with only eight weeks’ notice," Burnley Landlords have insisted that tenants typically have much longer and that in the meantime, landlords are the ones who are victimised.
"Landlords have to give tenants at least two months written notice to seek possession of what is the landlords' own property before being able to seek the court's help to obtain possession, which can easily take a further six weeks," said a Burnley Landlords spokesperson. "This processes usually follows a prolonged period of discussion and correspondence between the landlord and tenant, which often concerns rent arrears, anti-social behaviour, or the owner wishing to sell the property."
Insisting that the process of bailiffs also being involved can prolong the eviction further whilst landlords also have to meet "significant" legal costs, the spokesperson added: "This procedure therefore should hardly be referred to as a 'short-notice eviction', which in reality can easily last 20 weeks or five months+. During this time the landlord will often be receiving no rent, whilst still having to pay for maintenance costs, insurance, and mortgage repayments."
Asserting that the figures only contained the percentage of cases which went to court, Campaign group Generation Rent had previously said that a combination of rising rents, stagnant wages and declining welfare support had fuelled an increase in evictions in recent years and that many landlords were evicting tenants in order to cash in on properties rising in value.
"Generation Rent allegedly also refer to 'revenge evictions' being the cause of some evictions, when in fact it is in the landlord's best interest for his business to retain good tenants and invest in their rental property to maintain what maybe their only source of income," said the spokesperson, who insisted that landlords do not benefit from having to pursue such an expensive process of eviction and that those looking to sell have every right to do so.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, however, have spoken on an imbalance in the relationship between tenants and landlords, claiming they are putting an end to no-fault evictions’ by repealing Section 21 of the Housing Act to "deliver a fairer, good-quality, and more affordable private rented sector," and to give "tenants greater security as part of our ongoing work to make a better system for both tenants and landlords."
Despite Generation Rent pointing to declining welfare support making renting tougher for low-income families, Burnley Landlords pointed to how landlords have been impacted by other costs, such as the increased Landlord Licensing Fee.
They added: "It’s hardly surprising more landlords in Burnley and across the country are reported as now wanting to leave the rental sector, which will ultimately leave good tenants with much less choice of a good home in a pleasant area in [the] future."