Two key figures from the private rented sector have joined forces to warn agents that the government’s plans to abolish Section 21 notice evictions will have significant and unintended impacts on the PRS.
Paul Shamplina (pictured) of Landlord Action and star of TV show Slum Landlords, Nightmare Tenants, and PayProp boss Neil Cobbold (pictured) have issued a joint statement say they want to speak out on the issue after it was mentioned within the recent Queen’s Speech.
This includes the misconceptions that surround Section 21 and Section 8 notices, and a look ahead to the post-rental reform future.
“Currently the vast majority of tenancies end because the tenant chooses to leave, not because the landlord is evicting. Landlords want tenants to stay in their property long term, and only serve notice as a last resort,” says Shamplina.
“We know from our experience at Landlord Action that most Section 21 notices are issued because a tenant is in rent arrears, or because a landlord wishes to sell or move back into their property.
“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 protracted, is why many always revert to Section 21.
“Therefore, abolishing Section 21 will not significantly change the number of evictions, it will simply change the process, which may have knock-on consequences for the number of open court cases and the associated costs for which the tenant will be liable.”
Shamplina also says that the Section 8 notice and associated grounds will become the norm and that landlord who previously wrote off arrears and used Section 21 will potentially now seek those arrears via Section 8, to the disadvantage of the tenant.
“There are various aspects 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 grounds to be considered and revised appropriately.”
Cobbold says the new evictions landscape, whatever the government decides on, will require more evidence-gathering and record keeping to successfully evict tenants.
“Comprehensive, automatically generated reporting based on live transactional information can make a real difference when it comes to providing the relevant evidence when eviction is necessary,” he says.
“The burden of proof for agents is going to be higher once Section 21 is abandoned.
“Having to demonstrate proof of arrears, for example, speaks to the need for robust record keeping and evidence gathering tools.”