Most landlords have never used Section 21

Posted on Wednesday, April 12, 2023

While Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions continue to be a hotly contested topic amongst property investors, most landlords have actually never used one.

The government is set to finally ban Section 21 evictions as part of its Renters’ Reform Bill after years of promises, meaning landlords will be forced to use more time-consuming Section 8 evictions – where they need to go to court and have a reason to evict a tenant.

However four in five (80%) landlords have never used Section 21. Of those that have, 6% did so when the tenant was in breach of the lease and only 3% where the tenant was not in breach of the lease.

Allison Thompson, national lettings managing director at LRG, said: “While we are fully supportive of ‘professionalising’ the private rented sector, many of the proposed changes, including the repeal of Section 21, would pose new challenges to landlords which could penalise both landlords and tenants.

“It is important to bear in mind that private landlords are vital to meeting increased demand in the rental sector and that unnecessary measures which would result in an exodus of landlords from the market would be detrimental to rental affordability.

“We also believe that the government should re-think its proposals surrounding assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs). It has been suggested that tenants should be permitted to serve notice of two months’ at any point.

“This would create considerable uncertainty for landlords, which is unwelcome in an already challenging market. There has been a request to amend this, so that two months’ notice is only permissible when the tenant had been in the property for at least four months. This compromise would provide some further security for landlords, while allowing flexibility for tenants.”

The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee welcomed the government’s proposed abolition Section 21 but requested that exemptions be made.

The report states that ‘The pressures on the courts will be exacerbated by the repeal of Section 21, as landlords will seek to regain possession under Section 8, especially in the case of rent arrears and antisocial behaviour’, and states that the abolition of Section 21 is only feasible if a housing court is put in place – something that the government has already ruled out.

Thompson added: “It is at least reassuring that the Committee understands the importance of consulting with landlords prior to making this substantial change – specifically on how and whether the courts can process such claims at the necessary rate – before Section 21 is repealed.

“If it was to speak to our landlords, it would certainly find that the government’s response to no-fault evictions to be extreme, unnecessary, and damaging to landlords and tenants alike. The government should reconsider this very onerous proposed change.”

Via @PropertyWire