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The UK’s largest listed landlord has supported the government’s move to delay the end of “no-fault” evictions until court reforms are made, urging the government to “get the balance right” to encourage investment in much-needed rental homes.
The timeline for making good on a 2019 Tory party commitment to end so-called no-fault evictions, which allow landlords to push out their tenants for no reason, has emerged as a key point of contention as the Renters Reform Bill moves through parliament.
Helen Gordon, chief executive of FTSE 250 landlord Grainger, said she supported the bill “to give people security” in their homes. But she argued that improvements needed to be made to speed up the court processes before phasing out “no-fault” evictions or “the court systems will be completely jammed up”.
Landlords and some Tory MPs argue that relying on slow court processes will make it too difficult to evict problem tenants. Eighty-seven members of parliament earn an income from residential property, including 68 Conservatives.
The debate over protections for tenants comes as the UK faces a record surge in rents, driven by rising mortgage costs pushing small landlords out of the market and too few large corporate rental providers taking their place.
Tenant groups and the Labour party have pushed for an immediate ban on no-fault evictions. Shadow housing secretary Angela Rayner said the decision to wait for protracted court reforms amounted to “kick[ing] the no-fault evictions ban into the long grass”.
Major landlords have posted bumper earnings as UK rents have risen. Grainger, which owns 10,000 rental homes, on Wednesday reported an 8 per cent increase in private-sector rents in the year to September. The company boosted its dividend 11 per cent and grew EPRA earnings (earnings from operational activities), exclude shifts in property values, by 41 per cent to almost £40mn.
Gordon said international investors such as pensions and sovereign wealth funds were keen to invest in building new rental housing, but that UK policies needed to strike a balance between tenants and landlords to unlock more investment.
Good availability of rental housing was important to the UK economy, she added. “It adds to labour mobility and the quality of labour that you can attract to the UK.”
Large institutional landlords provided just 1.7 per cent of the UK’s roughly 5mn privately rented homes, Grainger said. The Newcastle-based company has added 1,640 new rental homes in 2023, and on Wednesday announced a partnership to build 2,000 more units on land provided by Network Rail.