Section 21 misconceptions

Section 21 misconceptions

10:26 AM, 30th May 2022, About a month ago 76

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In the recent Queen’s Speech, the government reiterated its commitment to scrapping Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction notices during the next Parliamentary session.

Paul Shamplina, star of Channel 5’s Evicted! Nightmare Tenants, founder of Landlord Action and Chief Commercial Officer at Hamilton Fraser, has joined forces with PropTech firm PayProp and issued a joint call on agents, landlords and tenants to look into how the eviction process could change once the government’s latest proposed reforms are introduced.

On their mutual agenda are some of the misconceptions that surround Section 21 and Section 8 notices, and a look ahead to the post-rental reform future.

“Currently the vast majority of tenancies end because the tenant chooses to leave, not because the landlord is evicting. Landlords want tenants to stay in their property long term, and only serve notice as a last resort,” Shamplina said.

“We know from our experience at Landlord Action that the majority of Section 21 notices are issued because a tenant is in rent arrears, or because a landlord wishes to sell or move back into their property. In many cases, landlords could have used Section 8 for rent arrears or anti-social behaviour, but their lack of faith in the associated court process, which is undoubtedly more protracted, is why many always revert to Section 21.”

He added: “Therefore, abolishing Section 21 will not significantly change the number of evictions, it will simply change the process, which may have knock-on consequences for the number of open court cases and the associated costs for which the tenant will be liable.”.

He argues that the Section 8 notice and associated grounds will become the norm. Landlords who previously wrote off arrears and used Section 21 will potentially now seek those arrears via Section 8, to the disadvantage of the tenant.

“There are various aspects of Section 8 that need considerable revision before Section 21 can be fully abolished. I believe it will need to be a phased ending to allow the courts time to clear the backlog from the last two years and for all grounds to be considered and revised appropriately,” he said.

“For example, the route for dealing with abandonment cases must be clarified, to prevent unnecessary court cases where the tenant has clearly already left the property.”

 The importance of evidence-gathering and record keeping

According to Neil Cobbold, managing director of PayProp UK, PropTech and automated software in particular has a key role to play in transitioning to a lettings market without Section 21.

“The scrapping of Section 21 is likely still some way off, with a White Paper and the legislation itself needing to make their way through both Houses to reach Royal Assent,” Cobbold said.

This, Cobbold says, gives agents, landlords and tenants a chance to prepare for a playing field without Section 21.

“It’s important to note that reforming evictions is going to cause some upheaval and there will be a significant bedding-in period,” Cobbold says.

“That’s why it’s vitally important that agents have their evidence-gathering and record-keeping processes in place, so they can move as seamlessly as possible from the old way to the new, in which agents and landlords will likely have to rely on a beefed-up version of Section 8.”

He added: “Comprehensive, automatically generated reporting based on live transactional information can make a real difference when it comes to providing the relevant evidence when eviction is necessary. The burden of proof for agents is going to be higher once Section 21 is abandoned. Having to demonstrate proof of arrears, for example, speaks to the need for robust record keeping and evidence gathering tools.”

The government also plans to reduce the number of cases making it to the courts by bringing in a new ombudsman for private rented sector landlords, helping to ensure disputes can be easily resolved without legal recourse. Using technology to create an automated record of payments, communications with tenants and other lettings processes will help landlords and agents to provide evidence of their good conduct when referred to the new ombudsman by tenants.

Section 21 back on the up

Recent Ministry of Justice figures found that private landlord eviction claims are now higher than pre-pandemic – a fact that some have attributed to landlords getting claims in ahead of the removal of Section 21.

Covering the period of January to March 2022, the figures show there were 6,447 claims by private landlords to evict tenants – some 3% higher than the same period in 2019, before Covid hit.

Of these, 6,066 were accelerated procedure claims being made as a result of a Section 21 notice – some 63% higher than the last quarter and nearly a third (32%) higher than the same quarter in 2019, before the pandemic.

Overall, there were 3,763 evictions by landlords, an increase by over a third (38%) on the previous quarter.

Although these numbers aren’t massive, they are still significant, and the direction of travel post-pandemic is for more eviction claims to be made.

“Section 21, having been virtually unused during the pandemic for obvious reasons, is starting to be used more frequently again,” Cobbold concluded. “So, if and when it is scrapped, it is likely that there will be a higher number of claims already in process, which will make some kind of bedding-in period even more vital.”

Shamplina adds: “Ultimately, tenants’ interests are best served by a rental market where landlords have confidence to invest, giving tenants a choice of properties to rent at a competitive price due to a balance of supply and demand.”

“It is essential that new legislation continues to encourage investment in the market as there is already a supply and demand imbalance, so any loss of stock will be negative for tenants.”



Comments

CMS

15:36 PM, 20th June 2022, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Tracey Burke at 20/06/2022 - 15:01
section is no fault. Section 8 notice is terminating the tenancy for rent arrears. NO need for gas certificate for section 8. Hope that helps

Tracey Burke

15:40 PM, 20th June 2022, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by CMS at 20/06/2022 - 15:36
Am confused 😐 she got a s8 then a s21 for rent arrears so a valid gas safety certificate isn’t required? Nor her dep not in a scheme?

CMS

15:40 PM, 20th June 2022, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by CYRIL STALEY at 20/06/2022 - 11:38
Hi Cyril,

I am glad i made you happy. To be honest you are pretty much on the money with everything.

You're right about section 8 ground for reoccupation able to be verbal but you got to keep in mind that if the tenant says you didnt and there is nothing in writing then it comes down to who the judge believes on the day. I will leave you to decide whether or not you think they would more likely go with a tenant rather than a landlord.

I am actually a qualified solicitor and have just been commenting on here to try and help some of you out. I can deal with your legal matter when you need it dealt with if you are happy to speak to me about it.

Best, Charles

CYRIL STALEY

16:07 PM, 20th June 2022, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by CMS at 20/06/2022 - 15:40
Thanks Charles
I have confidence in you. Problem is how to get together?

Not urgent as I need to get documents and admissions from atrocious LA whose negligence and lack of due diligence is astronomical on numerous aspects. I suspect undeclared pre - association between LA and tenant and ultimately a damages court action against the company after tenant evicted.

I live in Maidenhead, Berkshire - no car, only a mobility scooter. I feel face to face meetings bring best results.

Any thoughts and hope your fees are not Sky High!

Cyril

CMS

17:02 PM, 20th June 2022, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by CYRIL STALEY at 20/06/2022 - 16:07
Hi Cyril,

That's all fine. Mark A said that he is sorting all members being able to send each other messages i think from next week.

Once that's up and running drop me a line and i will give you a call and we can go through it.

Don't worry about my fees - we will talk about and as you can see i am trting to help a few people on here for free so I am not someone who squeezes every penny out of things.

Best, Charles

CYRIL STALEY

17:23 PM, 20th June 2022, About A week ago

Will await Mark A new system when up and running. Thanks
Just read on Rocketlawyer that the phamplets 're DPS are required to be served in first 30 days of tenancy. No mention of late provision rectifying ommisions?
My LA was totally stunned when I spoke of this and she, although the manager, stormed out of our meeting and left me with an underling with whom I carried on in my usual calm way. I had not been oppressive.
Just established that the deposit money and registration was lodged 8 days into tenancy. Contact info (in the AST) 5 days before tenancy.
But I have only just now squeezed the Certificate out from the LA 7 1/2 months late and have yet to get phamplets. So big ommisions last Oct/Nov which would seem to totally make S21 a non-starter as being invalid if above cannot be served late.

CMS

18:00 PM, 20th June 2022, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by CYRIL STALEY at 20/06/2022 - 17:23
H Cyril,

Ok here are my replies to your questions. I have a concall shortly that will probably g on until around 10pm so if you message again dont worry if i dont respond for a while.

1.Rocketlawyer is correct that the pamphlets should be served within the first 30 days of the tenancy. if they are not then you cannot serve a valid s21 until you have given them the pamphlets.

2.provided the deposit was registered correctly and within the 30 days then thats really the main thing. Although the certificate and pamphlets should have been served within 30 days, from the s21 point of view, so long as they are served before you serve the notice you should be ok.

3.Let's speak next week, get the documents together and serve them on the tenant now then they will have had them long before they receive the s21 notice.

So long as we have all the info and get it to the tenant before serving the s21 notice we should be ok to serve it. I will guide you through it all anyway so i wouldn't worry yourself about your current position.

Best,

Charles

CMS

18:11 PM, 20th June 2022, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Tracey Burke at 20/06/2022 - 15:40
Sorry i just don't really know what you have got because you said a few different things and then things that don't really make sense sorry.

What i suspect you have is (a) a section 21 notice requiring your friend to leave in 2 months time provided after end of fixed and ending on a day before the rent is payable; (b) if your friend is in more than 2 months rent arrears she may have also received a s8 notice which includes the demand for rent arrears.

I don't think that they can ask for rent arrears to be paid under the section 21 notice so normally, if that route is used, the landlord would evict the tenant and then try and get a money order for the rent arrears.

I hope this clears it all up for you and your friend. The other comments i made previously regarding the s21 possibly being invalid, claiming the deposit back and a penalty and claiming undue hardship to get a furtehr 52 days all stand so i hope you now have enough info for your friend to take this forward.

Best,

Charles

Tracey Burke

18:20 PM, 20th June 2022, About A week ago

Thanks Charles it was how it was explained to me her daughter suffers from mental health so of course this was all new to my friend till court letter came but thankyou your info has been greatly appreciated

CMS

18:38 PM, 20th June 2022, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Tracey Burke at 20/06/2022 - 18:20
no worries - good luck. Best, Charles

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