Propertymark warns new Government against the abolition of Section 21 without an adequate replacement mechanism


Propertymark has warned the new UK Government against the abolition of Section 21 no-fault evictions as without an adequate replacement mechanism, the court system in England and Wales will be overwhelmed.

The industry body has said not only will this cause lengthy and costly delays for everyone involved, but with the raft of regulatory and financial pressures placed on landlords in recent years, this will only add as a further nail in the coffin.

Propertymark members have voiced their concerns around landlords already expressing their desires to exit the sector, and Propertymark has said Section 21’s abolition will provide another reason for current landlords to leave the sector, prevent prospective investors from entering and create a further shortage of homes for tenants which will ultimately push rents up even further.

During the 2024 General Election, Labour campaigned to clampdown on ‘unscrupulous landlords’, and to abolish Section 21.

Other pledges included preventing tenants from paying huge upfront rent payments, reducing energy bills, and cutting fuel poverty.

They also wanted to extend Awaab’s Law to the private rental sector to improve tenant conditions by preventing damp and mould from growing in rental properties.

The last Conservative government also wanted to ban Section 21 no-fault evictions as part of the Renters Reform Bill, which never became law.

However, Propertymark submitted written evidence to the Public Bill Committee on the legislation in December 2023, citing data which proved the level of anxiety amongst member agents about measures likely to make the private rented sector more hostile to private landlords and the unintended outcomes for people desperate for homes.

Section 21 notices allow ‘accelerated’ claims to skip the court system. The Tories’ Renters’ Reform Bill would have resulted in extending the grounds for possession under Section 8 instead – which would have meant many more cases have to go through the courts. This is why Labour need to clarify how their plans to remove Section 21 would work.

When the Conservatives’ Renters Reform Bill was announced in May 2023, letting agents and landlords were concerned they would end up in limbo, anxious about how long they would be expected to wait for a hearing and, ultimately, possession of their property. There are fears Labour’s latest proposals could have the same impact.

Propertymark has advised the UK Government to ensure that, like with the Renters’ Reform Bill before, the latest legislation must ensure that there is a balance between protecting tenants’ rights and guaranteeing that landlords have a suitable legal mechanism to repossess properties, when necessary, without swamping the courts.

Nathan Emerson, CEO at Propertymark, said:

“The Renters’ Reform Bill brought a great deal of uncertainty to landlords, letting agents, and tenants, so it is vital that the UK Government’s fresh legislation to remove Section 21 guarantees that it is being replaced with a suitable legal mechanism that prevents a backlog of cases to the courts. Any new Bill must strike a balance between protecting tenants’ rights and ensuring that landlords have a suitable legal mechanism to repossess properties when necessary.”

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