Landlords in the firing line from another consumer group may once again be wondering what they have to do to prove that they are not always the bad guy. Following on from recent calls for tenants to pay no rent if they are suffering financial hardship due to Covid-19, this week Citizens Advice wants buy to let properties to be re-let only if the tenants in them want to move.
The proposal is just one in a list of tenant-related demands made by the organisation, most of which relate to the Coronavirus outbreak. But yesterday Citizens Advice told Letting Agent Today that “properties should only be put on the rental market if the tenant has said they want to move.”
We think there’s a major misconception here. There seems to be an assumption that just because tenancy agreements are for a fixed term, landlords automatically want to change tenants. They don’t.
Ringley Group MD Mary-Anne Bowring says: “The truth is that a sane landlord would want to end the tenancy only if they were experiencing problems with the tenants. Why face a void period if your tenant wants to stay. A void means not only the loss of a couple of weeks rent but also the need to refresh the property, spruce it up a bit and maybe even change curtains, furniture or carpets”.
Citizens Advice is also calling on the Government to “accelerate its policy to scrap Section 21”. We wholeheartedly disagree with this too and have campaigned to keep a system that we believe is effective. Section 21 is simply a polite way to evict difficult tenants. It stops the court system being clogged up with many small rent arrears cases and gives landlords some certainty that their worst bad debt is the term of the tenancy without protracted court proceedings.
Most property owners who rent a home to tenants do a good job. They are not constantly trying to rip-off or evict renters who pay their bills and look after the property. So why put landlords in the firing line – again!
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