Ban on no fault evictions

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has revealed that it plans to consult on new legislation to abolish Section 21 evictions and said it would work with landlords and tenants to create a system that would amend the current eviction system under Section 8.

Section 21 notices don’t need a reason to gain possession of a property and can be issued to a tenant to ask them to leave at the end of a fixed term tenancy. When a Section 21 notice is enforced in Court the Judge has to award possession to the landlord. Section 8 notices have a number of defined grounds that be used to gain possession, the Court process is more complicated and possession is awarded at the discretion of Judge meaning that a number of court hearings may be needed for a possession order to be issued.

For many agents and landlords, the scrapping of the Section 21 notice will now make tenancies effectively indefinite and there are warnings that the number of section 21 notices may increase before it is repealed so that landlords can more easily get their properties back before any deadline is introduced.

Section 21 was originally designed to allow landlords to regain possession of their property to sell it or to move into the property themselves but it is often argued that it has become a backstop to overcome the ineffective Section 8 process, where a landlord has to go to court to regain possession.

Richard Lambert, CEO of the NLA, says: “Landlords currently have little choice but to use Section 21. They have no confidence in the ability or the capacity of the courts to deal with possession claims quickly and surely, regardless of the strength of the landlord’s case. England’s model of tenancy was always intended to operate in a sector where Section 21 exists. This change makes the fixed term meaningless, and so creates a new system of indefinite tenancies by the back door. The onus is on the Government to get this right. It’s entirely dependent on the Government’s ability to re-balance the system through Section 8 and the court process so that it works for landlords and tenants alike. The Government should look to Scotland, where they reformed the court system before thinking about changing how tenancies work. If the Government introduces yet another piece of badly thought-out legislation, we guarantee there will be chaos.”

Housing minister James Brokenshire acknowledged in his statement that it is important that landlords have confidence that the court system works for them, in instances when there is no other option but to seek possession of their property through the courts. He added that the announcement includes improvements to court processes, to make it “quicker and smoother” for landlords to regain their properties when they have a legitimate reason to do so.

It is worth noting that, according to the Government’s own figures more than 90 percent of tenancies are ended by the tenant. Of the tenancies ended by the landlord, the majority are ended because of rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.

Parkinson Property

29th April 2019


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