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Section 21: Read Mark’s story

Mark is a landlord based in South Manchester.

He has been a landlord for twelve years, and has four properties which he rents out alongside his full time job as an electrician.

He says that Section 21, which he has used twice, has proven to be a useful tool for him, on the rare occasions that he has needed to regain possession of his property quickly. Here, Mark explains why he recognises that tenants need security of tenure, and why he believes that the large majority of cases Section 21 is not actually a ‘no-fault’ eviction.

When the time came for Manchester landlord Mark to serve a Section 21 notice on one of his tenants, it was still not something he found comfortable doing.

That said, for him he was left with no choice.

In his twelve years of being a landlord, he’d never had any issues with his tenants. That changed about 18 months ago, when one of his tenants failed to pay him the rent for several months.

At first, Mark gave his tenant chance after chance each month to pay him the rent he was owed.

However, when his tenant accrued more than five monthsrent arrears, Mark says he ended up serving a Section 21 on his tenant as ‘a last resort’.

“At first I gave the tenant the benefit of the doubt. I thought ok well he might have not been able to pay the rent this month but perhaps he’ll have his finances sorted and be able to pay me the rent the next month”, begins Mark.

“However by the fifth month of receiving no rent at all from him-hI had to sort the issue out. After all, being a landlord together with my day job is my livelihood and provides me with my income as well as a pension”.

Despite his tenant owing him thousands of pounds in rent, Mark still found serving a Section 21 notice-his first-a hard thing to do.

 “What made the situation even more difficult for me was that the tenant in question was actually on a joint AST with someone who was paying the rent. So I had to serve a Section 21 notice on both of the tenants, even though one had done nothing wrong. It was an uncomfortable situation for the other tenant”.

Using the Section 21 route to possession, Mark was able to get his property back within three months, which meant that he could then re-let the property out fairly quickly to new tenants. He didn’t even need to go to court.

Mark says that he has only served one other Section 21 notice, and this was because he wanted to gain possession of his property after a tenant in a shared property was behaving extremely antisocially, making life difficult for the other tenants.

The future of Section 21

Mark recognises that tenants need security of tenure. “I always remember that my properties are my tenants’ homes, and I respect that”.

In his view, Mark says the majority of Section 21s that are served by landlords are done so for good, legitimate reasons.

“Section 21 has been a useful tool for me, on the rare occasions that I have had to gain possession of my property. Section 21 is rarely a no-fault eviction, as why would any landlord who has a good tenant want to get rid of them, aside from wanting to sell up”.

When Mark heard the news about the upcoming Government consultation on abolishing Section 21, at first he said he was ‘horrified’.

“When I first heard the news I was shocked, as Section 21 has been an important backstop for me in being able to gain possession of my property quickly when I really needed to. However I have been reading about the RLAs proposals for what the new possession process should look liked, and I feel more comfortable with the idea.

“I’d like to see the Section 8 grounds beefed up and for the whole process to be streamlined, and a dedicated Housing Court to be introduced. After all, when things do go wrong landlords need to be sure they can get back their property swiftly.  If those things were put in place, then I’d be more comfortable with the idea of Section 21 going”.

Learn more

We are urging members to write to their MP about proposed changes to the possession process. This can be done easily using our MY RLA online platform.

Read our new possession reform research here.

About the author

Residential Landlords Association

Residential Landlords Association

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