Renters’ Reform Bill confirms end of Section 21



The abolition of Section 21 evictions has been confirmed as part of the Renters’ Reform Bill, which was unveiled as part of the Queen’s Speech.

The speech itself – delivered by Prince Charles after the Queen cancelled due to “episodic mobility problems” – made little reference to the bill, but the details were released alongside his address to parliament.

As well as abolishing Section 21 the bill pledged to reform possession grounds for landlords by introducing grounds for repeated incidences of rent arrears and reducing notice periods for anti-social behaviour.

There will be a new Ombudsman for private landlords with the intention of more quickly solving disputes without needing to go to court.

Meanwhile a property portal will be introduced to help landlords understand their obligations, give tenants performance information to hold their landlord to account, as well as aid local authorities.

The reforms have generally been welcomed.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “We welcome the Government’s acceptance that reforms to the rented sector need to strengthen the ability of landlords to tackle anti-social tenants and those with repeated rent arrears. We will continue to work to ensure that these and other grounds for possession are fair and workable.

“Whilst we support proposals for an Ombudsman to cut the number of possession cases needing to go the court, this cannot be a substitute for proper court reform as well. At present it can take almost a year for a private landlord to repossess a property through the courts where they have a legitimate reason to do so. This is simply not good enough.”

Paul Wootton, director of The Landlord Works, a Nationwide Building Society platform, said: “We believe the reforms announced in the Queen’s Speech today will help improve private renting and ensure that people living in rented properties have a home they feel they can call their own.

“Delivering the government’s commitment to abolish section 21 is a long awaited and positive step forward. To successfully deliver change, the abolition must be supported by reform of the section 8 evictions process – giving a clear list of reasons why a tenant can be evicted and court reform to ensure cases can be dealt with quickly when serious problems do arise. The introduction of a ‘property portal’ with landlord and property details could have positive benefits for the sector including allowing mortgage lenders to identify unregistered properties and supporting local authorities prioritise their enforcement activity.

“The private rented sector has to work effectively for the mutual good of landlords and tenants if it is to deliver good quality, safe and secure homes and these reforms are a welcome step towards that goal.”

A White Paper will be published “shortly” setting out details on the proposals, which apply to England and Wales.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Today’s Queen’s Speech shows the government has listened to the voices of renters, who have been fighting for a long time to be heard. For years private renters have said they need more security, so they don’t have to live in constant fear of a no-fault eviction. And for years social renters have tirelessly campaigned to be taken seriously when they say something is wrong. It’s been five years since the fire at Grenfell tower, and we’re now one step further on the road to justice.

“These vital bills could finally give renters a system that is fair and safe – with the scrapping of Section 21, a new property portal that allows people to check their landlord is decent, and regulation to strengthen the rights of social tenants. But these promises will remain words on page until they become law. Now the government needs to get the job done.”

Comments 1

  1. As some landlords leave the rental market and rental property supply reduces rents will increase for those prepared to stay in the market. Selection of tenants will toughen accordingly to reduce risks of poor tenants and those needing social housing will suffer the most. Well done Shelter, well done politicians. Better income for those prepared to stay. Shelter etc will injure the very people to say they help. Eventually the penny might drop?

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