In mid-April 2019, the Government announced they propose to consult on scrapping Section 21. These are referred to as the “no-fault” repossessions in the private rental market. Section 21 notices have been the source of controversy in the rental market, with a growing difference in how tenants and landlords view it.
The Residential Landlords Association, the RLA has warned of “serious dangers” arising from rental housing reforms concerning vulnerable tenants and the supply of rental property to this group of people. David Smith is the Policy Director for the RLA, and he said; “Whilst the RLA recognises the pressure being placed on government for change, there are serious dangers of getting such reforms wrong.”
The Government believes most tenancies are ended by tenants
Government date for private leases suggests tenants stay in one property, on average, for more than four years, and that the tenant, not the landlord conclude 90% of rentals. However, the RLA believes that if landlords do not feel confident of having a degree of control over the letting process, a higher level of scrutiny is on the tenants.
Smith continued, “With the demand for private rented homes continuing to increase, we need the majority of good landlords to have the confidence to invest in new homes. This means ensuring they can swiftly repossess properties for legitimate reasons such as rent arrears, tenant anti-social behaviour or wanting to sell them. This needs to happen before any moves are made to end Section 21. For all the talk of greater security for tenants, that will be nothing if the homes to rent are not there in the first place. We call on the government to act with caution.”
Some industry professionals believe landlords are forced to use Section 21
The National Landlords Association is not in favour of the removal of Section 21. Their CEO, Richard Lambert released a statement, saying; “Landlords currently have little choice but to use Section 21. They have no confidence in the ability or the capacity of the courts to deal with possession claims quickly and surely, regardless of the strength of the landlord’s case. The onus is on the government to get this right. It’s entirely dependent on the government’s ability to re-balance the system through Section 8 and court process so that it works for landlords and tenants alike.”
Lambert also suggested that the Government study the changes which took place in Scotland, where the court system was altered before focusing on the legislation surrounding tenancies. With the NLA predicting chaos regarding the removal of Section 21, it is likely that there will be further debate about what the Government does next.
There is no denying that a sizable proportion of landlords have used Section 21 to deal with troublesome tenants, and it provides confidence to landlords that they can remove tenants from the rental property in an effective manner. If the ability to remove tenants in this manner changes, some landlords may well reconsider their presence in the market.
If you are a landlord looking for support and guidance in this area, contact Studentcircle Lettings, and we will be more than happy to keep you informed and up to date.