Shelter urged to go back to drawing board on tenancy proposal

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The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has urged Shelter to go back to the drawing board after calling for England to adopt Scotland’s model of indefinite tenancies in the private rented sector.

Shelter released a report yesterday suggesting that England should follow Scotland’s lead and provide private tenants with indefinite security of tenure, meaning "no-fault" evictions will no longer be possible.

The private residential tenancy rules introduced north of the border in December 2017 brought an end to fixed-term rentals, meaning leases will effectively be open-ended.

These new laws have led to unprecedented security of tenure to private renters, with landlords in Scotland now needing a good reason to evict tenants.

But Shelter has failed to recognise key differences between England and Scotland, according to David Smith, policy director for the RLA.

Responding to Shelter’s report, Smith said: “The only reason the Scottish model has worked is because a properly funded and staffed housing court was established to cope with the dramatic increase in repossession cases needing to be heard.

“Across England and Wales it takes an average of over five months for landlords to repossess properties through the courts. This is not good enough.

“We call on Shelter to back the RLA’s plans for a dedicated housing court that can process repossession claims in legitimate circumstances without frustrating landlords. Simply tinkering with the existing courts will not work.”

Smith criticised Shelter for claiming that changes in Scotland have not affected the supply of homes for rent.

“Shelter has used figures from before the changes were introduced,” he added. “As the latest data from the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors notes clearly, whilst the demand for new homes to rent has increased considerably in Scotland, new landlord instructions have fallen, providing less choice for tenants.”

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