Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions ban sparks landlord ‘uncertainty’, says law firm

Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions ban sparks landlord ‘uncertainty’, says law firm

8:52 AM, 23rd February 2024, About 2 months ago 7

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While Housing Secretary Michael Gove has vowed to end Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions before the next General Election, legal experts are warning that his pledge may cause confusion and uncertainty in the housing market.

The government plans to ban Section 21 evictions under the Renters (Reform) Bill and require landlords to rely on statutory grounds for seeking possession of rental properties.

This would require a court hearing unless the tenant left voluntarily or there is provision for some form of accelerated procedure for some of the statutory grounds.

Mr Gove’s pledge highlights that the government’s manifesto commitments on ‘no-fault’ evictions remain a priority but leaves landlords in ‘an uncertain position’.

‘Lack of specifics on crucial elements’

The property dispute resolution expert at law firm Pinsent Masons, Ian Morgan, said: “The current lack of specifics on crucial elements such as promised reforms of court and tribunal processes risk leaving landlords, investors, tenants, and those advising them, in an uncertain position.”

In November last year, Mr Gove told MPs it was ‘vital’ to reform the court system first to avoid it becoming overwhelmed.

Mr Morgan added: “Affordability and accessibility of housing remains a key election issue – and renters want to feel secure in their homes.

“The lack of specifics, particularly around exactly how much further money is coming, when, and how this will then be operationalised by the courts and tribunals service to deliver a streamlined possession process for genuine cases remains to be seen.”

The number of households evicted

Mr Gove’s pledge came after a week where it had been revealed that the number of households evicted rose by 39% in 2023, according to analysis by homelessness charity Shelter.

It means the total of Section 21 notices since the government first announced plans to ban the practice almost five years ago has surpassed 26,000.

The charity’s analysis found that a further 30,230 landlords started no-fault eviction court proceedings in 2023, reflecting a 28% rise in one year.

The law firm’s housing and residential sector expert, Sarah Campey, said: “Whether there really is the time and necessary backing to make the Bill a reality before the next General Election is questionable.

“Notwithstanding this, it is clear that section 21 will be abolished either before or after the election, whatever the outcome, and it now looks like that will happen sooner rather than later.”


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Comments

GlanACC

10:02 AM, 23rd February 2024, About 2 months ago

The only good thing to come from abolishing S21 is that S8 is categorised and Shelter and the other habgers on will then have the statistics of how many renters are getting evicted for non payment and anti social etc. At the moment Shelter can only specualte why an S21 is issued because it is not categorised.

Monty Bodkin

10:21 AM, 23rd February 2024, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by GlanACC at 23/02/2024 - 10:02
"we will then have the statistics of how many renters are getting evicted for .....anti social behaviour"

Unfortunately not.
Proving the grounds for ASB is near impossible. The proposed improvements in section 8 ASB grounds are worse than useless.

Yellard

23:20 PM, 23rd February 2024, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by GlanACC at 23/02/2024 - 10:02Why, why why, are the government and Shelter Charity getting way with talk of abolishing "no fault" evictions when really they are abolishing fixed term tenancy contracts? When I have explained this to people unaware of private rentals, they all have agreed that private landlords should have the right to enter into an agreement to rent out their property for a fixed term. As for the claim on the government official website that landlords can arbitrarily evict on two months notice.. We know that's not possible during a fixed contract but only after expiry of the contract. Once, again, when I have explained this to people, a light bulb gets lit up regarding the disgraceful propaganda of the likes of Shelter. There should be reform of rental law.. Eg, I beleive tenants should be able to resign their contracts early but abolishing fixed term contracts will (and is) reduce supply and make remaining landlords very fussy with references and guarantors to the extent that immigrants, the young (without wealthy parents) and the poor will not be able to rent anywhere.

GlanACC

9:00 AM, 24th February 2024, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Yellard at 23/02/2024 - 23:20
As I have never used a letting agent and never had to advertise my up front costs of letting a property were very cheap (about £60) - consequently if a tenant wanted to leave early I would let him/her. I would rather have a tenant leave on good terms and make a little less money than have a tenant leave on bad terms and make my life difficult. Issue I now have is I now have only 6 long term tenants who never miss a payment and don't want to leave (one guy was in the house I purchased from another landlord over 20 years ago) - I won't evict them .. but I do want to retire ! .. luckily dont need the money, my grandaughter is going to be well provided for.

David Houghton

10:46 AM, 24th February 2024, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by GlanACC at 24/02/2024 - 09:00
We are in similar position. We would take people without references, even homeless people off the street into a bedsit. Knowing we could evict fairly straightforwardly. About 70 to 80% of these tenants were fine.

We had to be slightly more careful when we closed the hmo's. Now it is pretty much impossible to take a risk on anyone. So we are selling up as people move out. RRB will mean a few s 21s before it comes into force. Shelter and others really are shooting homeless people in the foot

Rodders H

22:25 PM, 30th March 2024, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Monty Bodkin at 23/02/2024 - 10:21
anti-social - the only time you will prove that is if your tenant stabs their neighbour and police come out to investigate and not file it under 'civil matter, nothing to do with us'.

Reluctant Landlord

8:32 AM, 31st March 2024, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Rodders H at 30/03/2024 - 22:25
always amazes me how, when someone living in their own property reports anti social issues for example with another neighbour (also home owner) what the council does exactly about this? It expect it it came to a head, it ends up with the neighbour taking the other neighbour to civil court - so the council never get involved.

So how is it different for example with a private owner and a tenanted property? The LL is not responsible for the tenant so how can any council insist the LL evict the tenant because this is at the end of the day a civil matter? The council have no powers to force a private LL to demand they evict a tenant (no matter how bad the situation was). I'd be interested to hear of any case law to understand otherwise.

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