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The government has announced plans to abolish Section 21 evictions within new reforms to the private rental sector.
Section 21 evictions currently allow landlords to evict tenants on a ‘no fault’ basis in order to regain their properties. However, the government wish to create open-ended tenancies, giving renters, according to Prime Minister Theresa May, ‘the long-term certainty and the peace of mind they deserve’.
The government is set to begin a consultation on these plans soon, to abolish Section 21 evictions along with reform for Section 8, with the aim to provide landlords with the means to regain their property more quickly and smoothly than they are able to currently in the event that they wish to sell the property or move into it themselves.
Communities secretary James Brokenshire commented: ‘By abolishing these kinds of evictions, every single person living in the private rented sector will be empowered to make the right housing choice for themselves – not have it made for them. And this will be balanced by ensuring responsible landlords can get their property back where they have proper reason to do so.’
He concluded: ‘We are making the biggest change to the private rental sector in a generation.’
However, industry experts have criticised the move to abolish Section 21.
Residential Landlords Association policy director David Smith said: ‘Whilst the RLA recognises the pressure being placed on government for change, there are serious dangers of getting such reforms wrong.
‘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.’
‘Today’s news could be devastating for the private rented sector and landlords operating within it. The effects of the tenant fees ban have not yet been felt, and now the Government is introducing more new legislation which could deter landlords from operating in the market.’
He continued: ‘Although in the majority of cases there is no need for Section 21 to be used, there are times when a landlord has no choice but to take action and evict tenants from a property. Until we have greater clarity on the changes planned for Section 8, today’s news will only increase pressure on the sector and discourage new landlords from investing in buy to let properties. This comes at a time when demand is dramatically outpacing supply and rent costs are rising.’