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Landlords Association Urges Caution With Section 21 Reforms

Ministry of Housing aims to abolish Section 21 notices and create open-ended tenancies

James Brokenshire MP and PM Theresa May announce new reforms that would abolish Section 21 evictions

The UK Government has revealed its plans to consult on new legislation that seeks to abolish Section 21 evictions.

Announced by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities, and Local Government (MHCLG), James Brokenshire MP, the proposals aim to stop private sector landlords from evicting their tenants on short notice.

Under Section 21, landlords may serve a two-month eviction notice without needing to give a reason. Removing this process is intended to create open-ended tenancies that will provide greater security for tenants.

To compensate for the removal of Section 21, the Government intends to simplify the process for Section 8 notices, which currently requires the landlord to declare why they want the tenant(s) evicted.

By speeding up the process of disputes, the Government hopes to ensure landlords remain confident in the market by making it easier and quicker for them to regain possession of the property should the tenant(s) damage the property or fall into rent arrears.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “This important step will not only protect tenants from unethical behaviour, but also give them the long-term certainty and the peace of mind they deserve.”

Announcing the reforms, Brokenshire said: “We are making the biggest change to the private rental sector in a generation. We are creating homes, opportunities and thriving communities, where people can come together and put down roots, bound by a strong sense of belonging.”

Responding to the announcement, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) warns the reforms risk hurting tenants if not handled correctly, and urged the Government to first reform Section 8 and the courts process before abolishing Section 21.

“Whilst the RLA recognises the pressure being placed on Government for change, there are serious dangers of getting such reforms wrong,” said David Smith, Policy Director for RLA.

“With the demand for private rented homes continuing to increase, we need the majority of good landlords to have confidence to invest in new homes. This means ensuring they can swiftly repossess properties for legitimate reasons such as rent arrears, tenant anti-social behaviour or wanting to sell them.”

He concluded: “This needs to happen before any moves are made to end Section 21. For all the talk of greater security for tenants, that will be nothing if the homes to rent are not there in the first place. We call on the government to act with caution.”

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