Reforming Possession in England

What is the issue?

The Government has now opened its consultation on removing assured shorthold tenancies and ending repossessions via Section 21.

To mitigate the impact of removing Section 21, the consultation is proposing to amend or introduce a number of Section 8 grounds as well as tweaking the court system so it works slightly faster.

The RLA welcomes any improvements to Section 8 and the court process but the consultation falls some way short of providing landlords with the confidence they can regain possession of their property in legitimate circumstances.

Much of the focus of debate around repossessions has centred on Section 21 being so called ‘no-fault eviction.’ That is not the case.

All the evidence from our research shows the overwhelming majority of landlords use Section 21 for legitimate purposes, such as tenant rent arrears or anti-social behaviour. They do this because Section 8 is often ineffective.

What is the RLA doing?

The RLA is calling for the retention of Section 21 until private landlords have confidence in any new system. They must be able to swiftly regain possession of their property with certainty.

We have formed a ‘Fair Possessions Coalition’ with other groups that represent landlords and agents. Together, we will warn the government of the dangers of removing Section 21 in isolation. If this happens then we risk losing investment in the sector at a time of increasing demand.

Retaining landlord confidence will require a suite of substantial reforms to the possession process. This includes a new housing court with much faster bailiffs, greatly enhanced grounds for possession, and fiscal and welfare reform to ensure private landlords can confidently rent to more vulnerable tenants.

Until all of this has been achieved the RLA believes Section 21 should be retained. Only when landlords have confidence in the new possession will they continue to invest in the sector.

What can I do?

Contact your MP! You can explain your situation as well as the dangers to the industry by clicking the link below

In addition the government has now published its consultation on reforming possession in England. You can respond directly to their queries.

We also need case studies that highlight the problems landlords face when attempting to gain possession. If you have experienced delays in gaining possession then please email the details to policy@rla.org.uk.