Section 21 research: Join the fight for fairer repossessions

Section 21 research: Join the fight for fairer repossessions

Axing Section 21 repossessions will see some landlords leave the sector while others will refuse to rent to those who are not in work.
 
The RLA’s largest ever research project saw almost 6,400 of you share your thoughts on the controversial government announcement that Section 21 is to go. Thank you to all those who took the survey.
 
This research refutes common claims tenants are routinely evicted for ‘no reason’ and the RLA believes it is the poor and vulnerable that will lose out as a result of the changes.
 
It has found that of the landlords that had used Section 21:
 

  • 84% had used it because their tenant hadn’t been paying rent
  • 56% had used it because of damage to property
  • 51% had used it because of anti-social behaviour
  • 26% said that they had served a Section 21 notice at the tenants’ request – to enable them to seek social housing to avoid them being classed as intentionally homeless

 
A huge 84% of landlords said they will be ‘more selective’ in who they rent to if the government goes ahead with its plan, over fears they would not be able to swiftly regain possession if and when there were problems.
 
The RLA has warned this means landlords will be less likely to rent to those considered to be of higher risk of rent arrears or causing damage to a property.
 
These groups include tenants claiming benefits and tenants with pets.
 
At present, landlords can repossess properties using two routes, Section 21 and Section 8.
 

  • Section 21 allows a landlord to repossess at the end of a tenancy and requires two months’ notice to be given but without providing a reason.
  • Section 8 allows a landlord to repossess under a number of set ‘grounds’ including rent arrears and anti-social behaviour.

 
One of the issues is the Section 8 process can take a long time – a period of time in which a problem tenant may refuse to pay rent or could be causing a nuisance to other tenants or neighbours.
 
It currently takes an average of over five months from a landlord applying to court for a property to be returned to them and many landlords responding to the survey said they were dissatisfied with the courts, citing numerous delays and problems.
 
The government now plans to consult on proposals to scrap Section 21 repossessions in favour of an as of yet undefined system – with the consultation yet to go live.

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