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Housing Secretary publishes written statement on Section 21 reform

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Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

The Housing Secretary James Brokenshire has revealed more information about planned housing reforms, following an announcement last week that the Government plans to consult on banning Section 21.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Brokenshire says that the forthcoming Government consultation will be “the start of a longer process” to introduce reforms.

A “package of reforms”

In his statement, which can be read in full below, Brokenshire said that the Government is planning on introducing ‘a package of reforms’, adding that this will “improve security for tenants and provide landlords with confidence that they have the tools they need”.

Improvements to the Court Process

Brokenshire acknowledged that it is important that landlords have confidence that the court system works for them, in instances when there is no other option but to seek possession of their property through the courts. 

This week, RLA Policy Director David Smith and Vice Chair Douglas Haig represented landlords during high level talks at Number 10, on the Government’s proposed Section 21 changes.

Coinciding with last week’s announcement, MHCLG also published the Government’s response to the “Overcoming the Barriers to Longer Tenancies” consultation. You can read this response here.

RLA survey

Following the announcement last week, the RLA is giving landlords the chance to shape their rights to repossess properties and share their experiences of gaining possession, in a major new survey. If you would like to take part in this survey, please click here.

To find out more about the upcoming Government consultation, watch our Frequently Asked Questions video with our policy manager John Stewart, here.:

The full written statement made by James Brokenshire can be read below:

“You will have seen that last week I announced reforms to the legislative framework governing how private tenancies can be ended in England to improve security in the private rented sector for both tenants and landlords. This announcement followed my department’s recent consultation on ‘Overcoming the Barriers to Longer Tenancies’. I also published the government’s response to this consultation.

The private rented sector has changed dramatically in the last twenty years, and the sector needs to keep pace with these changes. The number of people who live in the private rented sector has doubled, and it is home to more families with children and older people. These households need stability and security in their home.

The current legislative framework leaves tenants feeling insecure. They can be asked to leave their homes, with as little as two months’ notice, without the landlord providing any reason, using eviction proceedings under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. This sense of insecurity can profoundly affect the ability of renters to plan for the future, to manage their finances or to put down roots in their local communities.

The government intends to establish a fairer system for both tenants and landlords by legislating to repeal Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. Bringing an end to so called ‘no fault evictions’, would mean that a tenant cannot be forced to leave their home unless the landlord can prove a specified ground, such as rent arrears or breach of tenancy agreement. It would provide tenants with more stability and protect them from having to make frequent and short notice moves. It would also empower tenants to challenge their landlord about poor property standards where this occurs, without the worry of being evicted as a result of making a complaint.

The private rented sector must also remain a stable and secure market for landlords to continue to invest in. The legislation I intend to introduce will include measures that provide landlords with additional safeguards to successfully manage their properties. We will strengthen the existing grounds for eviction available to landlords under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. This will allow the landlord to regain their property when they want to sell it or move into it themselves.

It is important that landlords can have confidence that the court system works for them in instances when there is no other option but to seek possession of their property through the courts. That is why this announcement includes improvements to court processes, to make it quicker and smoother for landlords to regain their properties when they have a legitimate reason to do so.

Removing no-fault evictions is a significant step. This announcement is the start of a longer process to introduce these reforms. We want to build a consensus on a package of reforms to improve security for tenants while providing landlords with the confidence that they have the tools they need.

We will launch a consultation on the details of a better system that will work for landlords and tenants. The government will collaborate with and listen to landlords, tenants and others in the private rented sector to develop a new deal for renting. Ministers will also work with other types of housing providers outside of the private rented sector who use these powers and use the consultation to make sure the new system works effectively”

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.

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