Campaigns Regulation and Enforcement

Section 21 consultation: Government reveals plans

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

The Government has published the consultation of abolishing Section 21, so called ‘no fault’ repossessions in the private rented sector.

The consultation, which can be accessed online here, will run for twelve weeks, closing on 12th October 2019.

The consultation includes proposals to improve the court system and alternative process for regaining possession of a property, known as Section 8, something the RLA has been calling for.

Commenting on the Government’s publication of the consultation on abolishing Section 21, so called ‘no fault’ evictions today, David Smith, the RLA’s Policy Director, said:

“Landlords’ concerns over scrapping Section 21 remain unchanged unless and until a new system is in place that provides the confidence and certainty needed that they can regain possession of their property in legitimate circumstances.

“We have engaged extensively with the Government over these proposals and we are pleased to see that many of our points have been taken on board. This includes on improving the court system and alternative process for regaining possession of a property, known as section 8, to account for how landlords can be certain they can regain their property when faced with rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.

“Section 21 notices are not used for no reason; our research found that of those who had used the process, 84 per cent had used it because of tenant rent arrears, 56 per cent because of damage to a property and 51 per cent because of anti-social behaviour. This is backed up by this week’s English Housing Survey which found that only 12 per cent of private tenancies were ended by the landlord. It is mostly used as the Section 8 process and court system are not fit for purpose.”

“We will continue to make the case for a system that works for both tenants and landlords and will be responding to the consultation once we have reviewed the full details. It is welcome that the Government has listened to our calls for the consultation to run for a proper length of time to give the millions affected time to respond, at 12 weeks.”

The publication of the Government’s consultation comes just days after the RLA published the findings of its fair possessions research, which was the largest ever survey project of landlords and agents in the association’s history.

This research refutes common claims tenants are routinely evicted for ‘no reason’.

It has found that of the landlords that had used Section 21:

  • 84 per cent had used it because their tenant hadn’t been paying rent
  • 56 per cent had used it because of damage to property
  • 51% had used it because of anti-social behaviour

In fact, rather than landlords seeking to evict tenants by this route 26% said that they had served a Section 21 notice at the tenant’s request – to enable them to seek social housing to avoid them being classed as intentionally homeless. 

At present, landlords can repossess properties using two routes:

Section 21 enables a landlord to regain possession at the end of a tenancy and requires two months’ notice to be given but without providing a reason.

Under Section 8, landlord can repossess a property under a number of set grounds including rent arrears and anti-social behaviour. 

Read more: 

  • Since the announcement was made the RLA has worked tirelessly to highlight the impact the changes will have on landlords and the knock-on effect on tenants, with appearances on BBC, ITV and Sky News and coverage in all major national newspapers.
  • Read a blog by RLA policy director David Smith on how axing Section 21 does not mean homes for all 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.
  • The RLA is urging landlords to write to their local MP about the controversial proposals to abolish Section 21. The association has now written a template letter which landlords can send to their local MP at the click of a button, on the MY RLA platform.  There is also a section for landlords to add their own experience of the possession process.

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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