There is an opportunity right now to end homelessness while still being able to run a profitable business.

Benjamin Howarth

Benjamin Howarth

The upcoming abolition of Section 21 and no-fault evictions is clearly a concern for agents, landlords and social-housing providers, resulting in many wanting to move to shorter tenancies and conduct more stringent background checks or simply not accept tenants at all. This will make it harder for tenants on low incomes or those looking to get long-term residences to rent in the future, forcing many more into homelessness.

A more thoughtful approach to the eviction process is needed, but the only remaining option is to use the broken Section 8 process. Removing a working mechanism will do more harm than good.

Landlords do still need the right to end a tenancy. Indefinite tenancies work for Scotland, as they have robust regulations and guidance on how people can be evicted. Inevitably, the property market will lose private landlords, with poor-quality ones remaining.

Howarth Housing provides private rented property alongside its social housing, but already it has lost 30% of its landlords due to the uncertainty – they decided to sell their properties, which removes valuable and needed property from those who have no other options.

Investors are going to be left with large property portfolios, some choosing to leave properties empty or turn properties into luxury apartments to gain an extra 3% return, as opposed to renting for the long term to make a real difference.

Many of society’s problems can be solved with the appropriate service intervention. A one-bed apartment can cost more than £500 a month. Of this, social services may fund some and the local housing authority may contribute, but there is still a shortfall of around £300 to £400 a month, even with the help of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit.

UK providers need to work together, as they are the only line of defence left on the frontline. Big and small providers need to get together and start working out solutions, rather than waiting to hear top-down from the government.

Benjamin Howarth is founder and managing director of Howarth Housing Group