There is much controversy over the decision to abolish Section 21. We will briefly explain what this notice is used for and then look at the consequences of its removal.
Section 21, of the Housing Act 1988, allows the landlords to evict their tenants at the end of fixed-term tenancies. THe can do it without any reason as long as they follow the procedure given in the act. The eviction section doesn’t end the lease. It provides the landlord with the right to appeal in court. To obtain an order for possession and has that order executed by County Court bailiff or High Court enforcement officer. The notice has to be in writing. The landlords must give tenants two months’ notice that the landlord requires possession of the property.
After a consultation, the government has decided to abolish Section 21. The law society supports the government in this action. The president of the law society, Simon Davis, has stated: “Section 21 is one of the leading causes of family homelessness in the UK. In addition, because of the absence of legal aid support, many are unable to obtain the legal advice they need to enforce their rights. This creates an inequity of power between landlords and tenants. The rule of law should be available equally to both sides.”
Landlord and letting agents are of course most concerned about this. The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) have warned of ‘Serious dangers’ to the supply of rental properties caused by this reform. The National Landlord’s Association has specified that “over 96% of landlords would consider leaving the market without section 21”.
The alternative method of evicting a tenant is using Section 8, but this notice requires the demonstration that the tenant has breached the terms of the tenancy.
The reasons for which a Section 21 notice would be issued can be wide-ranging but are generally legitimate. The following are some examples of reasons for using this notice:
- redecorate or refurbish the property
- re-let at a higher price which the current tenants is not willing or able to pay
- remove a troublesome tenant
- Because of anti-social behaviour problems caused by the tenant
- To end the tenancy to allow a family member to utilize the property
- The landlord wishes to sell the property to facilitate other investments, to repay a mortgage or to release equity needed for other purposes
David Cox, chief executive, ARLA Propertymark, commented: “Today’s news could be devastating for the private rented sector and landlords operating within it….Until we have greater clarity on the changes planned for Section 8, today’s news will only increase pressure on the sector and discourage new landlords from investing in buy-to-let properties. This comes at a time when demand is dramatically outpacing supply and rent costs are rising.”