Buy-to-let landlords are concerned about the proposed scrapping of Section 21 in the absence of a new system that allows them to regain possession of their property in legitimate circumstances.
The government finally published the consultation of abolishing Section 21 repossessions in the private rented sector last week, which will run for 12 weeks, until Saturday 12th October 2019.
The consultation, which you can access by clicking here, includes proposals to improve the court system and alternative process for regaining possession of a property, known as Section 8, which is welcome news as far as the National Landlords Association (NLA) is concerned.
Chris Norris, director of policy and practice at the National Landlords Association (NLA), commented: “The court system has been in dire need of reform for a long time, so we’re happy to see action on this.”
But Norris insists that any improvements to this system need to be in place, properly funded and fully functional before the government even contemplates changes to section 21.
He added: “Landlords have been relying on section 21 to compensate for the many failings of the section 8 fault-based process, which has become too costly and time-consuming.
“If the government want to deliver a fairer, better quality and more affordable private rental market, as they claim, they should try listening to the concerns of landlords, not just court the voting renters.”
Also reflecting on the government’s publication of the consultation on abolishing Section 21, David Smith, the Residential Landlords Associations’ (RLA) policy director, also cast doubts on the government's plan to abolish Section 21 without ensuring there is alternative system in place that provides clarity.
He said: “Landlords’ concerns over scrapping Section 21 remain unchanged unless and until a new system is in place that provides the confidence and certainty needed that they can regain possession of their property in legitimate circumstances.
“We have engaged extensively with the Government over these proposals and we are pleased to see that many of our points have been taken on board. This includes on improving the court system and alternative process for regaining possession of a property, known as section 8, to account for how landlords can be certain they can regain their property when faced with rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.
“Section 21 notices are not used for no reason; our research found that of those who had used the process, 84 per cent had used it because of tenant rent arrears, 56 per cent because of damage to a property and 51 per cent because of anti-social behaviour. This is backed up by this week’s English Housing Survey which found that only 12 per cent of private tenancies were ended by the landlord. It is mostly used as the Section 8 process and court system are not fit for purpose.
“We will continue to make the case for a system that works for both tenants and landlords and will be responding to the consultation once we have reviewed the full details. It is welcome that the government has listened to our calls for the consultation to run for a proper length of time to give the millions affected time to respond, at 12 weeks.”