Landlords misusing section 21 notices is ‘overstated’

Landlords misusing section 21 notices is ‘overstated’

0:04 AM, 18th April 2023, About A year ago 3

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Claims that landlords are misusing section 21 notices – the ‘no fault’ eviction process – are unfounded, one firm says.

Estate agents Leaders Romans Group (LRG) says it has carried out research and found that Section 21 is rarely overused, and even more rarely misused.

The firm says that a controversial change being planned in the proposed Renters’ Reform Bill would see the abolition of Section 21.

This measure will, among other issues, help to ‘professionalise’ the private rented sector (PRS) – but critics say that the repeal of Section 21 is not possible without changes in the court system.

‘Committed to raising standards’

Allison Thompson, LRG’s national lettings managing director, said: “Leaders Romans Group, along with the majority of our landlords, is committed to raising standards.

“But while we are fully supportive of ‘professionalising’ the private rented sector, many of the proposed changes, including the repeal of section 21, would pose new challenges to landlords which could penalise both landlords and tenants.”

She added: “It is important to bear in mind that private landlords are vital to meeting increased demand in the rental sector and that unnecessary measures which would result in an exodus of landlords from the market would be detrimental to rental affordability.”

Allows landlords to evict tenants without having to give a reason

Currently, section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 allows landlords to evict tenants without having to give a reason and tenants’ representatives believe that this leaves them vulnerable to ‘no fault’.

That means renters are often, they say, too afraid to complain to their landlord.

However, a survey by LRG across its estate agency brands Gibbs Gillespie, Hose Rhodes Dickson, Leaders, Moginie James, Portico, Romans and Scott Fraser, found that 80% of landlords have never used Section 21.

Of those that had, 6% did so when the tenant was in breach of the lease and only 3% where the tenant was not in breach of the lease.

The government should re-think its proposals

Ms Thompson said: “We also believe that the government should re-think its proposals surrounding assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs).

“It has been suggested that tenants should be permitted to serve notice of two months’ at any point.

“This would create considerable uncertainty for landlords, which is unwelcome in an already challenging market.”

She adds: “There has been a request to amend this, so that two months’ notice is only permissible when the tenant had been in the property for at least four months.

“This compromise would provide some further security for landlords, while allowing flexibility for tenants.”

Reforming the Private Rented Sector policy

LRG’s research follows the publication of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee response to the government’s Reforming the Private Rented Sector policy document.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group welcomed the government’s proposed abolition of Section 21 but requested that exemptions be made.

The report also states that, ‘The pressures on the courts will be exacerbated by the repeal of Section 21, as landlords will seek to regain possession under Section 8, especially in the case of rent arrears and antisocial behaviour’.

The report also adds that the abolition of Section 21 is only feasible if a housing court is put in place – something that the government has already ruled out.

‘The importance of consulting with landlords’

Ms Thompson said: “It is at least reassuring that the committee understands the importance of consulting with landlords prior to making this substantial change – specifically on how and whether the courts can process such claims at the necessary rate – before Section 21 is repealed.

“If it was to speak to our landlords, it would certainly find that the government’s response to no-fault evictions to be extreme, unnecessary and damaging to landlords and tenants alike.

“The government should reconsider this very onerous proposed change.”

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Freda Blogs

14:14 PM, 18th April 2023, About A year ago

Agreed. I suspect this reflects what most PRS LLs think. Maybe SRS LLs too.

However, it's likely too little too late, and I doubt that Govt will backtrack. It's deemed a vote winner, but will have disastrous consequences.

I'd love to be proved wrong.

Monty Bodkin

16:26 PM, 18th April 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Freda Blogs at 18/04/2023 - 14:14
Indeed, abolishing section 21 will have disastrous consequences.

Government knows this which is why they've been kicking the can down the road.

Once they are convinced they have no chance of winning the next election, they'll lob in the grenade and leave Labour to sort out the carnage.

Reluctant Landlord

9:37 AM, 19th April 2023, About A year ago

bearing in mind there is NO REASON GIVEN for a S21, how does anyone know the real reason for any of them?

Of the apparent 3% of LL that did not issue one for 'breach of lease', what were the reasons then?

Unless the REAL reasons are known, there is no justification for even considering taking this option away as you have no evidence to show what the even the current reasons are as to why they are issued in the first place!

I bet you will find they are for rent arrears and anti social behaviour, which if taken the S8 route take far to long to deal with.

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