Delay in scrapping Section 21
The Renter’s Reform Bill had always promised to scrap so called ‘no fault evictions’, meaning that landlords would be unable to rely on a Section 21 notice to secure vacant possession, and would instead have to use a Section 8 Notice to issue possession proceedings.
However, the government announced that Section 21’s will not be scrapped until the courts are able to effectively deal with possession proceedings in a timely manner.
Currently, it can take between four and six months for landlords to gain possession with a valid claim. If relying on Section 8s only is going to work, the courts must be able to cope.
The government’s pledge is to create a fully digital system that will make the court process more efficient and fit for the modern age. The design phase of this digital service is underway and has funding of more than £1 million.
Meanwhile, the government is also attempting to improve bailiff recruitment and retention policies so that enforcement is also efficient.
Some have speculated that digitalising the courts is a delay tactic to keep Section 21 notices in place. The government strongly disagrees; spokespersons from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have recently said:
“There are 2.4m landlords. Urban and rural landlords, their representatives and business tell us that they have concerns about delays in the courts. We cannot simply ignore that. We have always been clear that implementation would be phased, so that the sector has time to adjust, and we committed to giving notice of the implementation dates in the White Paper last year.”
“…Every one of the 11 million renters in this country has a landlord. We have had representations from all the organisations representing the 2.4m landlords in this country saying they are concerned about the courts. Trying to introduce a new system and overriding the concerns of landlords would be unwise.”
They insist that they are committed to ensuring that Section 21 notices are abolished at the earliest opportunity, but that the system must be ready.
This content was exclusively prepared in collaboration with The Lettings Hub by Sharfaa Kerkache from award-winning Woodstock Legal Services.
Woodstock Legal Services are specialists in legal advice and solutions for the Private Rental Sector.
The government’s position is clear. The aim is to get rid of Section 21 as soon as possible. Yet, before this can be done, the court system must be modernised to effectively implement the new legislation.
In any event, the reform bill is still going through the parliamentary process and so we are unlikely to see these changes until 2025.
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