Repossessions under Section 21 should be ‘retained’ in PRS

A coalition have warned that plans to abolish the act without a system in place could ‘undermine’ the sector.

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A group representing landlords and letting agents have united in warning that Section 21 repossessions should be retained in the private rented sector unless a new system is in place.

The ‘Fair Possessions Coalition’, formed of several representative bodies including the Residential Landlords Association, have further stated that plans to abolish Section 21 repossessions would “undermine” investment in the sector at a time when private landlords are relied upon on to provide homes for one in 5 households in England.

In a statement, the Coalition notes that whilst landlords much prefer good tenants staying long term in their properties, they need certainty that in legitimate circumstances, such as tenant rent arrears or anti-social behaviour, they can “swiftly and easily” repossess their properties in much the same way as social landlords and mortgage lenders.

As reported by 24housing, as part of a complete PRS overhaul, housing secretary James Brokenshire outlined plans in April to consult on new legislation towards that abolition and the creation, in effect, of open-ended tenancies.

The group further argue that the current ‘Section 8’ process, under which landlords can repossess properties based on several grounds, is not “fit for purpose” and does not provide the level of certainty offered by Section 21.

The Coalition has called for an overhaul of the regulations and processes enabling landlords to repossess their properties, urging the government to lay out clear grounds for repossession that are unable to be exploited by criminal landlords or unreliable tenants.

The group have further urged that, linked to the reform should be the establishment of a new, dedicated, fully funded housing court.

“Such reforms must form part of a wider package of measures including welfare reforms to better support vulnerable tenants to sustain tenancies and smart taxation to encourage the development of the new homes for private rent the country needs”, the statement concludes.

However, Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter said that bringing an end to the use of no fault evictions must now be a “major priority” for government, creating stability for those who rent and tackling the causes of homelessness.

“We hope that landlords and others will work constructively with the government to make this vital change a reality”, she said.

Commenting on the Coalitions statement, Hannah Slater, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at Generation Rent has said that under the current system, landlords “lack confidence” in the section 8 process, while tenants live in fear of a ‘no fault’ eviction.

“It’s clear that the current system doesn’t work for either party. Tenancy reform presents a real opportunity to create a better, fairer system that works for landlords and tenants, where landlords with legitimate grounds will be able to repossess their properties swiftly and good tenants will be able to put down roots and know that their house is their home.

“The government also needs to address very real issues about welfare payments to support landlords to rent to tenants on benefits”, she added.

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