This week, there was an interesting thread on BBC Radio2's Jeremy Vine Show, about banks evicting paid-up tenants for defaults by their landlords. The initial story was on an American sheriff in Chicago, who was responsible for carrying out forcible evictions under local law. After a few cases of having to put paid-up, law abiding tenants out on the streets, to have their chattels stolen by passers-by, the sheriff had consulted his conscience and refused to enforce any further such eviction orders. This tale elicited audience responses recounting the same thing going on in Britain.
It is quite reasonable, that if a landlord defaults on the mortgage of a rental property, their lender should be able to recoup their losses by taking over, and disposing of the property. However, if a lender has funded a buy-to-let, then the intention was for it to be tenanted, and a third party's home. Therefore, if the lender should find itself needing to repossess the property, it should be repossessed as a tenanted home. The lender has no conceivable moral right to take the property with vacant possession instead, and it is deeply disappointing to learn that the present state of the law allows a court to give them a legal right to do this. It inflicts groundless hardship on an innocent party to give the lender something which was never intended to be available.
In these troubled times, when repossessions may be expected to rise, there is an urgent case for governments to act to forbid this practice, wherever there is a defective law permitting it.