Scrapping of section 21: an opportunity rather than a threat

Scrapping of section 21: an opportunity rather than a threat

The scrapping of section 21 no-fault evictions, which is currently under consultation by the UK government, should be seen as an opportunity rather than a threat to the private rented sector (PRS) according to apropos by D.J. Alexander. Apropos believes that their experience of the more greatly regulated Scottish market provides a model for implementing stronger regulations in England and Wales which ensure the market thrives rather than dies with greater regulation.

While there was trepidation among landlords before the introduction in December 2017 of Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) agreements - which ended no-fault evictions in Scotland - this has not proved to be substantiated. Indeed, there is evidence that a landlord’s right to evict has been strengthened by the legislative changes, as there is now a shorter period in gaining an eviction notice and the grounds for eviction remain strong.

David Alexander, joint managing director of apropos by D.J. Alexander, explained: “The use of no- fault evictions has always been a bit of a blunt instrument, sometimes used in a fairly discretionary and unfair way. Modern letting is all about ensuring there are strong and open relationships between landlords and tenants with fairness at the root of it all.”

“It should be noted that, under the new Scottish system, strong grounds for eviction remain when it is necessary, and there is evidence that the Scottish system is now faster in implementing this. Under the earlier legislation a tenant had to be three months in arrears before a notice to quit could be issued, although in reality this would take a further six months to get to court. A notice to leave can now be issued at a much earlier stage and there are 18 mandatory and discretionary grounds for repossession under the new system. These include situations where the landlord is planning to sell the property, breaches of the tenancy agreement or anti-social behaviour.”

David continued: “With cases now being heard by the First Tier Tribunals’ Housing and Property Chamber – effectively a housing court which provides a free service with neither party requiring representation – we have a more efficient and effective system to deal with disputes.”

“The ending of the no-faults grounds for eviction notices and introducing greater security of tenure for tenants is feared by some as a sign of losing control. On the contrary, it gives agents, landlords and tenants the opportunity to develop a relationship built on trust, fairness, and developing a long-term one to the mutual benefit of all concerned.”

David concluded: “These regulatory changes must be viewed as positive in changing the property market, which has been using legislation that does not reflect the current market. There is some scaremongering going on regarding a dramatic drop in the number of properties if section 21 is abolished. I think that is misleading. Some landlords won’t adapt, and consequently will leave the market. But make no mistake, fairer rights and greater security for tenants is the future for the letting sector. Adapting to the new way of renting through greater regulation and fairness for tenants is simply the latest stage in the evolution of the property market and is a development, I believe, is long overdue.”