Landlord organisation’s bold bid for Section 21 reform

Landlord organisation’s bold bid for Section 21 reform

0:01 AM, 23rd October 2023, About 2 months ago 44

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One landlord organisation is calling for amending Section 21 rather than abolishing it.

Ahead of its presentation next month, iHowz has penned a letter to MPs and Lords laying out their plans to revamp Section 21.

iHowz says they are very concerned about the potential unintended consequences of the removal of Section 21.

Landlords use S21 as a backstop mechanism

iHowz argues many landlords use Section 21 as a vital mechanism within their toolkit.

It warns: “Sensible, professional landlords use the S21 as a ’backstop’ mechanism, allowing them to manage the risk of housing a vulnerable person, who, on paper, could be an acceptable risk.

“These vulnerable tenants include the homeless, offenders, as well as the economically disadvantaged.

“Many of these landlords offer with the caveat that the vulnerable person will be given a chance, as long as they pay the rent in a timely manner and don’t cause Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB)

iHowz say Section 21 gives a chance for landlords to reclaim their property.

“Many tenants accept a second chance because the S21 allows landlords recovery of the property, particularly in the event of ASB.”

The organisation added: “iHowz is advised by many members that, in the event of losing the S21, they will substantially increase their due diligence before offering a new tenancy. This due diligence is likely to extend beyond financial and previous landlord references, with landlords requiring tenants to provide a guarantor.”

Two months rent free

iHowz suggests a two part amendment to Section 21.

“We would like to see a sliding scale of notice required, based on the time a tenant has been in situ, in association with a recompense scheme.

“The sliding scale would recognise loyal tenants, by providing them more time to find a new home and plan their move to accommodate other factors, such as schooling.

The landlord organisation believe that in most cases a tenant who has been in situ for a number of years is most likely to be served a S21 notice by a landlord who needs the property back, to sell, refurbish or improve it.

iHowz said :“Many tenants have limited or no savings, so making the last two months of the tenancy rent free provides them funding to use for moving costs and any deposit or rent in advance for their new home.”

iHowz believe these actions will be a significant improvement for tenants and landlords by making the process fairer whist retaining the only proven mechanism for removing antisocial tenants, who’s actions blight the lives of tenants and their neighbours.

The landlord organisation said: “We strongly believe that all these measures taken together would give tenants substantial security of tenure, whilst allowing landlords to offer to a potentially bad-risk person, with the aspiration that they will eventually integrate into the mainstream community.”

Landlord Considerations

When asked about how landlords would view the proposals to give up two months rent and the need for longer notice to regain possession, iHowz highlighted that their proposal would allow landlords to continue to have access to S21.

The landlord organisation said landlords would then not have to rely on the government’s proposed new Section 8 grounds and improvements to the court process.

iHowz said: “The certainty of the current S21 process is worth the cost of these concessions, given that waiting for the courts will take many months, during which time tenants often stop paying their rent.

“This provides them an incentive to move on while recognising that we are asking them to leave. With the second reading of the Renters Reform Bill scheduled for this week the proposal has assumed new urgency.”

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Chris Bradley

12:01 PM, 23rd October 2023, About 2 months ago

This suggestion would actually encourage me to sell up and leave faster.
2 months free rent on a short term 6 or 12 month tenancy would leave landlords no option but to increase rents so the 2 months loss is covered by higher monthly rental.
Tenants would also abuse the system pushing for landlords to issue section 21 so they can get 2 months rent free then refuse to leave, and landlords couldn't then use rent arrears as an options as they were allowed 2 months rent free
Why not just increase the notice to 6 months to match Wales


12:10 PM, 23rd October 2023, About 2 months ago

The starter for ten would be to require a reason to be stated for the use of section 21. This would enable the government to collect meaningful statistics so that a reasoned decision could be made.

Martin Roberts

12:16 PM, 23rd October 2023, About 2 months ago

I'm guessing Waitrose will give me 2 months free groceries if I tell them I plan to shop in Tesco from now on?

Jo Westlake

12:17 PM, 23rd October 2023, About 2 months ago

I'm not keen on the last 2 months free but would be fine with a similar alternative. Something like the Local Authority provides a loan to the tenant equal to 2 months rent to enable them to pay a deposit and up front costs of a new property. After the tenant has vacated the old property the landlord provides the last 2 months rent to the LA to repay the loan. Only in cases where the tenancy has lasted at least 2 years and where there have been no rent arrears for at least the last 2 years. Why should a tenant who has been hassle free throughout their tenancy be majorly out of pocket because we decide to sell up or retire?

We must remember it's only a very small percentage of tenants that get evicted. The vast majority leave because their life has progressed to the next step and it's time to move.

Small Portfolio Landlord

12:22 PM, 23rd October 2023, About 2 months ago

It specifies that 2 months rent free is only for tenants who have been in situ for a number of years. I think the proposal has some merit as trying to recover a property using section 8 takes considerably longer than 2 months - whatever the government say they're doing to improve it.
It would depend on the number of years they have been a tenant in that property before this option kicks in. As an absolute minimum, I'd say 3 years.

Seething Landlord

12:27 PM, 23rd October 2023, About 2 months ago

Maluka, On what planet could anyone think that you would give a reason for a "no reason given" possession? Even ignoring the total illogicality of the suggestion, once a reason is given it is open to challenge.


12:53 PM, 23rd October 2023, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 23/10/2023 - 12:27
I am sorry my suggestion had you seething.
At present NOBODY has any idea why a section 21 is used. Shelter, Generation Rent, Acorn, Government, NRLA, fellow landlords even individual landlords all have their own ideas as to why but no one actually knows. Stating a reason, for data collection purposes only, would enable statistics to be gathered leading to a reasoned decision concerning the fate of Section 21. The stated reason would not be used in determining the legal outcome of an individual case.
TheMaluka, Planet Earth


13:21 PM, 23rd October 2023, About 2 months ago

The important thing is that landlords need to know that they WILL get their property back at the end of the notice period.

I think if a good tenant is asked to leave, there should be some compensation to help with the move. Why should tenants be out of pocket just because the landlord wants to play a different game?

Any compensation should be linked to the length of tenure starting at nothing for the first year, one month’s rent between a year and three years and two months thereafter. But ONLY if vacant possession is GUARANTEED at the end of the notice period.

Jo Westlake

13:29 PM, 23rd October 2023, About 2 months ago

TheMaluka - You're right that no one knows. We all have an idea that a great many could more appropriately use Section 8 (if it worked), but we don't actually know exact percentages.

We also don't know exactly what the activists are counting as an eviction. Do they mean serving a Section 21 notice or do they mean a Court ordering the eviction? There's a huge difference. A Section 21 notice may simply be to remind students a fixed term tenancy is ending, it may be a useful piece of paper to get lower priority creditors to back off, it may be an invitation to sign up for another fixed term, it may be a warning shot for a low level misdemeanor or it may actually mean the landlord wants possession. Issuing a Section 21 notice simply starts the clock and gives a landlord the ability to take things further. Realistically it's only when step two has been activated that it is definitely an eviction.

Ross Tulloch

14:21 PM, 23rd October 2023, About 2 months ago

I have used section 21 six times because of drug use, or non payment of rent. Eight times because of the silly regulation encouraging more pointlessly empty rooms because of minimum HMO room sizes. Never no reason. Section 8 and particularly the court system pointless as the courts are not fit for purpose.

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