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RLA quoted extensively in Commons briefing note on Section 21

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

Ahead of a debate which is due to take place in the House of Commons on Section 21 on Thursday, the RLA has been cited heavily.

The debate, which is set to take place on Thursday 6th December is called: “The use of section 21 evictions in the private rented sector.”

Page 10 of the briefing includes recent research on homelessness conducted by Dr Chris O’Leary of Manchester Metropolitan University, commissioned by the RLA. As part of this research, Dr Chris O’Leary et al suggest that landlords use section 21 where there are grounds for evicting tenants, such as rent arrears and anti-social behaviour.

The research also found that a key driver of homelessness from the private rented sector has been introduction in 2008 of the Local Housing Allowance (LHA), as a way of calculating Housing Benefit payments for low income households.

Also included in the briefing note is mention of the RLA’s preferred position on Section 21; that section 8 should be reviewed and reformed to encourage landlords not to rely on Section 21.

The briefing note also outlines several reasons that have been identified by the RLA as to why landlords prefer to use a Section 21 route to gain possession over a Section 8, when seeking to terminate AST’s.

This includes reasons around:

  • Rent Arrears. A Section 8 notice can be sought when a tenant reaches 2 months of rent arrears. If the tenant has paid the arrears off by the time the case goes to court the application by the landlord becomes invalid and can often be followed by the tenant again building arrears and again paying them off at the last minute.
  • Anti-social behaviour To obtain a Section 8 notice in the face of a tenant committing antisocial behaviour the bar for securing the necessary evidence to prove this is relatively
    high. In itself it can be a long and difficult process, resulting in neighbours suffering as a result of a problem tenant
  • Going to court Most Section 8 notices usually involve the case going to court. Figures from the Ministry of Justice reveal that the average time taken for a landlord to repossess a property through the courts was 22 weeks in 2017. This means tenants and landlords are left in a ‘legal limbo’ for quite a long period of time.

The debate which is taking place on Thursday will take place in the House of Commons, and will see MPs debate the future of the possession option, Section 21.

You can read the briefing online here.

Learn more
  • Are you a landlord or agent with questions about Section 21 or Section 8? Remember if you are an RLA member you can give our Landlord Advice Team a call
  • Interested in learning more about Gaining Possession? The RLA run a training course with new dates that have been announced for next year, in Sheffield, London, Manchester, Preston, Cardiff, Leeds, Stockport and Birmingham.

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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