Are we going to see an end to Section 21 evictions?
Following a campaign by several renters’ support groups and both the Labour and the Green party, the government will enter into a consultation with regards to removing a section 21 eviction notice from the legislation.
At this point it is only a consultation, however we have seen how these can quite easily become law, look at the recent tenants’ fees act for an example how quickly a consultation can become law.
Of course, the many pro tenant lobbyist have hailed the news as “groundbreaking” in improving tenant rights.
However, you have to look deeper and consider why many landlords choose to use section 21 to evict a tenant. When you consider the court process for a section 8, the time and cost to remove a tenant via section 8 results in many landlords being forced to issue a section 21.
I hope that the government takes on an impartial consultation when it reviews the abolishment of section 21. I reviewed many of the section 21s that I have issued in the last 12 months and the majority are issued to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent.
There has to be a balanced struck, if the government does not find a middle ground then the only people that suffer will be the tenants.
At present landlords have the right to remove a tenant after a fixed term contract has ended, giving at least eight weeks’ notice. For many that’s a further eight weeks without any rent. Interesting that the government claims that section 21, has become one of the leading causes of family homelessness, not the lack of housing, not that the tenant has chosen not to pay rent, not all the changes in legislation forcing a landlord to sell their buy to let property.
I agree that a tenant needs to feel secure in their home but not at the detriment of the landlord. Why should one person have more rights than over another?
I am still a firm believer that all the media attention and lobbying has blown the whole section 21 tenants eviction process out of the water. As I mentioned earlier in my experience the majority of tenant evictions are due to non payment of rent and the slow results that a section 8 delivers.
Teresa May claims the whole process is wrong and wants to prevent unfair evictions, most of her statement is very biased towards the tenants, which is worrying.
Shelter are still claiming that landlords are using a section 21 to remove a tenant when the tenant complains about the poor quality of their home. Yet I have not seen any evidence to back up this claim.
If successful it would mean that landlords seeking to evict tenants would have to use the section 8 process, which can be implemented when a tenant has fallen into rent arrears, has been involved in criminal or antisocial behaviour or has broken terms of the rent agreement, such as damaging the property.
This process would have to be overhauled as it is currently woefully inadequate.
I have spoken to a few landlords and they are all deeply concerned that unless section 8 is reviewed as part of the process, more lengthy and costly delays in evicting a tenant will follow.
Will a change to section 21 result in financial lenders be less likely to grant mortgages if it is harder to remove rogue tenants?
I totally agree with David Smith, the policy director of the Residential Landlords Association, where would be tenant security be if there are much fewer private rental properties?
More than 4m households, equivalent to around 11 million people, are now in privately rented accommodation in England.
It is clear from comments such as “families had the right to build a home without fear of being evicted at a moments’ notice “ from James Brokenshire communities secretary that already it appears the government has made up its mind. If you consider at least eight weeks to be a moments notice.
Polly Neate, Shelter’s chief executive, said the government would deserve great credit if it delivered on the promise quickly and that the change would transform lives. She said tenants were often given contracts “shorter than your average gym membership, who live in constant fear of being thrown out at the drop of a hat”.
Shelter claim that its research has found that one in five of families who rent privately have moved at least three times in the last five years, but it does not expand into the causes of the move? Further claiming one in 10 have had the locks changed on them, again without expanding on cause.
Section 21 is used as most landlords and companies like mine have no confidence in the results of the court to deal with possession claims quickly and with impartial justice, regardless of how clear cut the case may be.
I believe that if section 21 is removed and no alternative found it could have extreme impact on tenants and not in a positive way.