David Alexander: English landlords seeking advice from Scottish market as eviction deadline approaches

David Alexander, joint managing director of property management firm Apropos, details why an increasing number of English landlords are seeking advice from the Scottish market as the eviction deadline approaches.

David Alexander: English landlords seeking advice from Scottish market as eviction deadline approaches

David Alexander

Over the last few weeks apropos, a UK-wide property management platform, has been contacted by many English landlords seeking advice on how to deal with tenants over the issue of eviction during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Scottish market is different in its treatment of tenants and issues such as no-fault evictions (equivalent to section 21 in England and Wales) are already illegal in Scotland and tenants have much greater security of tenure.

The result is that most landlords and agents have had to develop a more conciliatory and mutually beneficial means of working with tenants which has proved particularly effective during the pandemic.

Over the last few weeks, I have been contacted by many landlords in England seeking advice on how to deal with their tenants. In particular, evictions have become a major issue for some landlords who find themselves unsupported by government and forced into a corner by emergency legislation restricting their actions.

However, many have found that as they have not established close relationships with their tenants prior to the pandemic so communication is not as open and effective as it needs to be to deal with these difficult circumstances. I would encourage all landlords and agents to establish a strong dialogue to see if a negotiation on payments is possible. We have found that the majority of tenants are amenable to this approach.

The regulatory situation has been very different for some time in Scotland compared with the rest of the UK with legislation much more supportive of tenants. This has encouraged landlords and agents to create closer relationships with their tenants and develop more effective communication strategies so that everyone involved understands what is happening, what the processes are, and can generate workable solutions to difficult circumstances.

Evictions are always a last resort but sometimes they are inevitable and necessary. This is unfortunate but true. However, if the landlord, agents, and tenants have developed good communications and understand each other then this can go a long way to help avoiding confrontation.

There will always be tenants who avoid rent payments and there will always be landlords and agents who immediately call for evictions. The best solution is somewhere in the middle. Encourage the tenant to pay through negotiation and it is a win-win situation for all involved. To have to go to court to evict is costly, time consuming, and unprofitable but occasionally necessary so it does happen, but no-one should undertake this lightly. If you can come to an agreement with the tenant, the outcome will be more positive.

The Scottish system has made everyone involved in the private rented sector become more understanding of each other’s circumstances and attuned to their needs. The result is a system that has been more able to adapt to these extraordinary circumstances.

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