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Consultants Remove Light On Section 21 Notices Along With Reforms

Following a recent administration announcement which proposed reforms to Section 21 notices, two lettings sector experts have instructed that the eviction process could change under very rules.

During the recent Queen’s Speech, the administration made known its plans to scrap Section 21 “no-fault” deportation notices in the next Parliamentary session through a pending Renters’ Reform Bill. Nowadays, landlords can issue Section 21 deportation notices to tenants without having to provide a reason; critics have pointed out how the heeds can be used by landlords to evict tenants who petition repairs or are arguing about their living spaces.

But experts have weighed in on the issue, arguing that lowering Section 21 will not affect the rising number of deportations.

“Currently the vast plurality of livings end because the resident chooses to leave, not because the landlord is evicting. Landlords want tenants to stay in their estate long term, and only serve heed as a last resort,” said Landlord Action founder and Hamilton Fraser chief commercial officer Paul Shamplina.

“We know from our knowledge at Landlord Action that the majority of Section 21 notices are issued because a tenant is in rent arrears, or because a landlord wishes to sell or move back into their estate. In many cases, landlords could have used Section 8 for rent arrears or anti-social behaviour, but their lack of faith in the associated court process, which is undoubtedly more digressive, is why many always revert to Section 21,” added Shamplina, who serves as the “eviction expert” on Channel 5’s Evicted! Nightmare Tenants show.

Shamplina further clarified that “abolishing Section 21 will not considerably change the number of evictions;” instead, it will change the process of how evictions are handled and ultimately would lead to knock-on effects for the number of open court cases, as well as the costs for which the tenant is liable for.

The eviction expert also indicated that the other type of eviction notice, Section 8, would become the norm following Section 21’s scrapping. This implies that landlords who previously wrote off arrears and used Section 21 would now possibly go after the money through Section 8 to the detriment of the tenant, Shamplina brought up.

“There are various facets of Section 8 that need considerable revision before Section 21 can be fully abolished. I believe it will need to be a phased ending to allow the courts time to clear the backlog from the last two years and for all floors to be considered and revised appropriately.”

PayProp UK, a prop-tech corporation, also had something to say about Section 21 being taken down.

“It’s important to note that reforming evictions is going to cause some upheaval and there will be a significant bedding-in period,” said PayProp UK managing director Neil Cobbold, who also remembered that proptech companies have a key role in the transition to a lettings market sans Section 21.

“That’s why it’s vitally crucial that agents have their evidence-gathering and record-keeping processes in place, so they can move as seamlessly as possible from the old way to the new, in which agents and landlords will likely have to rely on a beefed-up edition of Section 8.”

Cobbold has recommended that “comprehensive, automatically generated reporting founded on live transactional information” make a “real difference” when it comes to offering evidence when an eviction is called for.

“The burden of proof for agencies is going to be higher once Section 21 is abandoned,” the managing director said. “Having to demonstrate proof of arrears, for example, speaks to the need for robust record-keeping and information-gathering tools.”

Cobbold noted that Section 21 – which was virtually unused during the pandemic – is starting once more to be used more often again.

“So, if and when it is ditched, it is likely that there will be a higher number of lawsuits already in process, which will make some kind of bedding-in period even more vital.”

“Ultimately, renters’ interests are best served by a rental market where landlords have the confidence to invest, giving renters a choice of properties to rent at a competitive price due to a balance of supply and demand,” added Shamplina.

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