Section 21 Abolition

How will it affect you as an agent or landlord? In the short term little will change because the government understand that whilst they might want to champion the abolition, several other significant subjects have to be addressed and amended first.

The two key issues are the sorting out of the court systems and the altering of Section 8 notices to make them fit for purpose as the only means of eviction.

The courts currently are both understaffed and underfunded, hence they can be slow and cumbersome if a landlord has to go down that route. The courts need adequate funding in order to specialise in a housing court (first tier tribunal or housing court) with specialist knowledge across the board on housing matters and disputes. In conjunction, a lot more of the laborious paperwork needs to be available electronically so it can be done online, thereby streamlining the process, making it simpler and quicker for a landlord to get to court and to obtain a legally binding ruling.

The removal of a “no fault” eviction sounds simple but it is fraught with inherent problems that need to be very carefully and logically teased out by legal professionals, so that there are not unintended consequences in the rulings into the future. Section 8 notices at present require a fault on behalf of the tenant, to be able to go before the courts. Whilst there are many instances of rent arrears and anti-social behaviour, it is rare that a Section 8 would currently be used due to the longer time frame and potential of a ruling that does not lead to a possession being granted.

The majority of Section 21 evictions are for genuine reasons, either from the landlord (needs to sell, needs access back into the home etc) or because the tenant needs to move on, and this may necessitate help from the local authority. In either circumstance, by having to use a Section 8 notice, the process will be slower with an uncertain outcome and for tenants the possibility that the local authority will decide that by making themselves voluntarily homeless they do not meet the requirements for future help.