The National Landlords Association (NLA) is lambasting the Government’s proposal to remove Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, essentially creating indefinite tenancies.
Section 21 was originally designed to allow landlords to regain possession of their property to sell it or to move into the property themselves. The NLA has long 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 when a tenant is in breach of their tenancy agreement, because it is seen as slow, costly and inefficient.
Research conducted by YouGov* on behalf of the NLA in December 2018 showed that of the 11 percent of landlords surveyed who had sought possession over the last five years where the tenant was in breach of their agreement, 44 percent used only the Section 21 process to regain possession, while a further 22 percent used both Section 21 and Section 8.
According to the Government’s own figures**, 90 percent of tenancies are ended by the tenant. Of the tenancies ended by the landlord, the majority are ended because of rent arrears.
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 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.”
* All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 3,088 Landlords in England and Wales. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21st - 27th December 2018. The survey was carried out online.
** English Housing Survey, Private Rented Sector 2016/17