Government Consultation on Section 21 Abolition
The Government continues to intervene in the private rental market, despite many well-founded warnings that their actions will damage the availability of property to rent.
In April the Government made its latest announcement – an “end to unfair evictions” – and a new consultation on proposals to remove the ability of landlords to use ‘no fault’ evictions under Section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act. Whilst this proposal will now go to consultation, we get the feeling that the Government appears to have already pre-judged the matter, in favour of improving the court system to ensure landlords can more speedily repossess properties in legitimate cases.
At a time when the demand for rental homes is outstripping supply, the Government risks exacerbating the problem if it does not ensure that landlords have complete confidence that they can repossess properties swiftly for legitimate reasons. These include tenant rent arrears, tenants committing anti-social behaviour and landlords wanting to sell their properties.
With the Government’s own data showing that it takes over five months from a private landlord applying to the courts for a property to be repossessed to it actually happening, a reformed and improved court system is fundamental. The grounds to repossess properties must be thought through and improved before making changes to Section 21.
Recent research has found that in a large majority of cases where tenants are asked to leave their properties under Section 21 notices there is a clear reason. Half of the notices are used where tenants have rent arrears, are committing anti-social behaviour or damage to the property.
Other common reasons include the landlord needing to take back possession of a property for sale or refurbishment. The use of Section 21 notices cannot be described as ‘no fault’ evictions, as some have called them.
One of the interesting potential side effects of removing section 21 from the Private Rented Sector is the damage it might do to landlord regulation. Over time s21 has become a backdoor regulatory tool to help ensure landlord compliance. If the notice is removed altogether will this impact on regulation by removing a useful tool which encouraged, or compelled, landlord compliance.
How Does This Affect Me?
We will keep you posted on how the Government consultation proceeds, but it is well worth noting how the Trigg & Co fully managed service already helps and protects Landlords who may be having ‘issues’ – that with other letting agencies might lead them to want to serve a s21 notice:
- All our tenants are thoroughly and comprehensively referenced before we allow them to enter a tenancy. This includes getting a previous landlords reference and meeting them face-to-face. We don’t leave anything to chance.
- We operate fixed term tenancies and do not allow these to lapse into a periodic tenancy. We stay on top of your tenancies and make sure the correct rent is being charged and that the tenants are looking after the property.
- Quarterly Inspections are a standard part of our service. We don’t let problems remain unnoticed or unchecked. We treat your property as our own.
- Our unique ‘Rent on Time’ scheme guarantees your rent even if the tenant fails to pay. So, you are never faced with the nightmare scenario of a non-paying tenant whilst you seek possession under the court process. No other Island agent can give you this peace of mind.
- We manage all of the legal formalities associated with setting up a tenancy to make sure you do not inadvertently make a mistake and as a result fail to be able to get your property back with vacant possession.