Landlords have warned of a rental crisis that could lead to a mass sell-off of homes following the announcement Section 21 WILL go in today’s Queen’s Speech.
The government plans to introduce a Renters’ Reform Bill, which it says will: “Introduce a package of reforms to deliver a fairer and more effective rental market.”
The main elements of the Bill will be:
- Abolishing the use of ‘no fault’ evictions by removing section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 and reforming the grounds for possession.
- Giving landlords more rights to gain possession of their property through the courts where there is a legitimate need for them to do so by reforming current legislation. In addition to this the government will also work to improve the court process for landlords to make it quicker and easier for them to get their property back sooner.
- Introducing a new lifetime deposit so that tenants don’t need to save for a new deposit every time they move house.
- Continuing to develop and implement measures to wider access to and expand the scope of the database of rogue landlords and property agents giving greater powers to drive improvements in standards, and empowering tenants to make an informed choice about who they rent from.
The RLA has warned ministers they must make sure landlords have confidence in the repossession system post Section 21, or there could be a mass sell-off by landlords, making it harder for tenants to find a place to live.
Demand for rental housing is outstripping supply and the RLA says that any new system brought in to replace Section 21 must ensure landlords have the confidence that they can swiftly and effectively re-possess properties in legitimate circumstances, such as rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.
Without such confidence the supply crisis in the market will only worsen, making it harder for prospective tenants to find a place to live.
Clear and comprehensive grounds
The RLA has long called for the new framework to provide clear and comprehensive grounds upon which landlords can repossesses, with guarantees about the timeframes involved for each and measures to prevent abuses by problem tenants.
It has told the government it is vital it develops a dedicated housing court to ensure that there is easily accessible and swift justice available where there are conflicts between landlords and tenants.
David Smith, RLA policy director said: “We accept the need to protect tenants from abuse, but it is crucial that plans to reform the way repossessions can take place are got right if the government is to avoid a rental housing crisis.
“Unless the new system is fair to good landlords as well as tenants, those same landlords who we need to support simply will not have the confidence to provide the rented homes that are needed to meet the demand.”
To read full details of the government’s legislative agenda for the first session of the new Parliament click here.
The RLA has long warned plans to axe Section 21 have far reaching consequences for landlords and tenants, with almost half the 6,500 landlords and agents surveyed by the RLA in the wake of the announcement saying they would sell some or all of their rental homes.
Another key finding was that Section 21 is often used to repossess where the tenant is at fault, with many landlords using it in cases of rent arrears and antisocial behaviour, as they lack confidence in the Section 8 grounds-based process.
The research found that 83% of landlords who had used Section 21 had done so due to rent arrears, while over half had relied on it when their tenants were behaving antisocially. Read more here.
As part of its campaign to challenge the government the RLA brought together 18 landlords and letting agents’ groups at a summit in London to form the Fair Possessions Coalition, to address government plans to abolish Section 21. They united it stressing Section 21 must stay until and unless a new system was put in place providing landlords with the same level of confidence in the repossession process.