Campaigns Research

Half of landlords more likely to sell over Section 21 plan

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Nearly half landlords and letting agents are more likely to sell some or all of their rental homes as a result of government plans to end Section 21 repossessions, so-called ‘no fault’ evictions.

The RLA’s biggest ever survey of more than 6,500 landlords and agents revealed more than 46% plan to sell.

The research also found over 40% of landlords are waiting for other planned changes by the government to become clear before they make decisions on their ability to provide homes to rent. 

Rent warning

The figures come just weeks after the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) warned of private rents increasing by an average of three per cent a year over the next five years as a result of landlords being less prepared to rent property whilst demand from prospective tenants increases.

In April, the government announced plans to end Section 21 repossessions, alongside proposals on improving the Section 8 process, under which landlords can repossess properties on grounds such as rent arrears or anti-social behaviour. 

This process requires landlords to apply and be granted permission to repossess via the courts, yet official data shows that it takes over five months on average from application to repossession. 

According to the survey, of those landlords with experience of such repossessions, 79 per cent did not consider the courts to be reliable. 

Housing court

Almost 91 per cent of landlords supported the establishment of a special housing court, bringing together all housing disputes under a single body. 

With concerns that landlords selling property will usually require tenants to be evicted, the RLA’s survey found that 48 per cent of respondents said that they would be encouraged to purchase a property to rent with a tenant in situ if they could reclaim the three percent stamp duty levy on the purchase of rental homes on the condition that the tenants can remain in the property for a year or more. 

The survey also found widespread support for new grounds to be established upon which landlords can regain possession of a property.

These grounds could be used by landlords who wanted to sell a property, for example, or those who want to let to groups such as students – who do not require the indefinite style tenancies being proposed by the government. 

Landlord confidence ‘vital’

David Smith, RLA policy director, said: “Security of tenure means nothing unless the homes to rent are there in the first place.  

“With the demand for private rented housing showing no signs of slowing down it is vital that landlords are confident that they can quickly and easily get back their property in legitimate circumstances.   

“Whilst the system should clearly be fair to tenants, it needs also to support and encourage good landlords.

“Our survey shows how complex it will be to ensure that the grounds on which landlords can repossess properties are both clear and comprehensive.

“This needs to be underpinned by a court system that is fit for purpose and properly resourced. At present it is neither. 

“It is vital that the government’s planned reforms are carefully considered to avoid finding ourselves needing to reopen this whole issue later down the line.”

Find out more

  • To read more about what David Smith thinks of the government’s plans read his blog.
  • The RLA is asking members to write to their MPs to tell them the impact changes will have on them and their businesses. Read more and send your own letter here.
  • In the wake of the announcement Housing Minister Heather Wheeler wrote exclusively for RLA magazine Residential Property Investor, vowing to work with the association to develop a possession process that works for all. Read what she had to say here.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.


  • I hate to say this but the from my point of view the damage is already done. The proposals and the media onslaught has taken its toll. Regardless of what is talked about I am off. I am not the landlord who feels this way. The fact that these measures have even been proposed is enough. Lets face it would you trust anything any politician tells you?

    • Graham, spot on. Many do not realise that if anything goes under s8 you will have amubulance chasing money grabbing lawyers finding a million and one reasons why possession should not be returned to Landlords. Lets face it The Landlord Bashing Bullying Government have already brought in intentioanl traps with EPCs Deposits etc and poss Gas certificate and a silly booklet rules as reasons not to allow possession under S21

  • I am waiting to see what happens here before I sell up and get out, but I feel that the government should also try to bring in laws that would speed up the eviction process to protect the landlord from none paying tenants that are abusing the system as of yet this process is far too long and drawn out,if a tenants could be evicted say within a 3 month period for none payment then I’m sure this would stop people losing there homes as they would make more of an effort to pay on time?

  • Sadly I think that telling the government that lots of landlords are talking of selling up will be seen as predicting success – that’s exactly what they want. The other bit, the unintended consequences won’t be heard.
    Just a case of “landlords planning to sell up, plan working – G&Ts all round”

    • Simon, I am not sure you are right. A sudden sale of rental property will leave tenants without a home. Either the Government are playing a dangerous game or they are just plain stupid – I think it is the later. Even if they are trying to get their budies into buying, transactions taken months where tenant will be out on the street. It is more likely that think they will buy tenant’s votes whilst landlords are likely to desert the conservatives

  • Shared student & Young Prof Market – Require fixed Tenancies

    I would like to highlight and suggest a suitable approach for Shared Student and professional rental market – should there not be a U turn on scrapping section 21

    1) For all standard tenancies, only scrap section 21, if the whole housing courts system is reformed to provide sufficient safe guard to landlords, as I’m sure has been campaigned for already.

    2) However for the student and young professional shared market, falling into the following criterion, continue with section 21 or another suitable vehicle to allow fixed term tenancies, with a 2 month notice period at the end. With the HMO regulations and definitions this would be easy to establish and police if the following criterion apply:-

    – Shared tenancy agreement – joint and severable liable
    – HMO, defined as 3 or more unrelated tenants. This could be a licensable HMO or not as required by the HMO act

    This is a very clear cut definition and different requirements between a standard tenancy and the student and young professional shared market. By considering and implementing this clear definition it would allow decent student and young professional landlords to continue to provide well priced and quality accommodation to tenants on a fixed term basis, which all parties are happy with as its benefits all parties and keeps rents down.

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