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Section 21 eviction powers will still be scrapped - what does this mean for landlords?
Following speculation that the plans to abolish Section 21 would be reversed, Liz Truss confirmed at PMQs that her government was fully committed to getting rid of the so-called no-fault evictions.
A tweet by the political editor of The Times newspaper first raised the possibility that the Truss government was going to make a U-turn on abolishing Section 21 – one of the central planks of its rental reform agenda.
The claim made by Steven Swinford on social media said that Truss was shelving Michael Gove’s plans to end no-fault evictions as part of the planned Renters’ Reform Bill, which was set to be informed by the Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper. It looked like rental reform might finally make its way before parliament this year, but then came Boris Johnson’s resignation, a new Conservative leader and PM, and then the recent political and economic uncertainty – which has placed priorities elsewhere.
“The Times has been told that they are not considered a priority & could be killed off entirely, despite being a manifesto commitment,” Swinford had said on Twitter.
The Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper was first published in June by the government with the long-held plan of banning Section 21 evictions front and centre.
After the speculation that this pledge would be rowed back on, which led to a furious backlash from activists and tenant groups, Truss made an explicit commitment at PMQs in the Commons that the government would stick to their original commitment.
What does this mean for landlords?
Many landlords have been concerned about the scrapping of Section 21, and the replacement of it with beefed-up Section 8 notices, as it could affect their ability to repossess their homes if they need to.
As a result, landlords might have been pleased at the speculation that Section 21 wouldn’t, after all, be scrapped. But just a day later these hopes were vanquished. At the same time, landlords have become more used to a world without Section 21 – thanks to the eviction ban during the pandemic and the subsequent long court backlogs – so the prospect of this on a permanent basis might not be as scary as it once was. But landlords will still want reassurances that their rights are protected and considered.
At present, the new government hasn’t set out its plans on rental reform, which were a key part of the agenda for both the Theresa May and Boris Johnson governments. The new Housing Secretary Simon Clarke is expected to reveal his intentions for rental reform shortly, but some are still expecting the proposals to be watered down a bit from what appeared in the White Paper.
The key architects of that White Paper – Michael Gove and Eddie Hughes – are no longer at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. It will be down to Clarke and new housing minister Lee Rowley to set out their plans and give a clearer direction of travel to the industry.
Landlords have been living with the prospect of Section 21 abolishment for quite some years now, without any action taking place, so it’s likely the recent confusion over the government’s plans will be taken in their stride as well.
If you’d like to stay updated on government changes and the plans for rental reform, or if you need assistance on remaining compliant, then we are here to help.
Farrell Heyworth operates in the busy North West towns and villages of Southport, Lancaster, Morecambe, Preston, Bolton, Ormskirk and Chorley. Our Southport and Ormskirk service areas no longer offer a sales service, they are exclusively lettings. To find out how we can assist you on your lettings journey, please get in touch with us today.
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