The government has received criticism about its intention to scrap Section 21 evictions, with a partner from the London-based legal firm Collyer Bristow LLP describing the government’s view towards landlords as “Dickensian”.
Under Section 21 eviction notices, landlords have been entitled to evict tenants without having to give a reason for doing so, but government proposals on Section 21 would prevent them from doing so in the future.
This comes, after the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) claimed scrapping Section 21 would create indefinite tenancies in the UK housing market.
Government under fire
Pressure groups such as Generation Rent have long-argued that Section 21 was designed in a way that left tenants at risk of “revenge evictions” from their landlords.
In contrast, Paul Henson, a partner at the Real Estate Litigation team at Collyer Bristow LLP claimed: “The Government has a Dickensian view of private landlords offering substandard homes on extortionate rents. Whilst the market is far from perfect, this view is outdated.”
Mr Henson concluded: “Government reform must focus both on the needs of the tenant and the landlord. Any reform that makes it less desirable for private and institutional landlords could leave tenants in a much weaker position in the long run.”
Potential open-ended tenancies
Generation Rent argues that the government proposals are a step in the right direction, but that they should do more to support tenants, making suggestions about what the government could do, beyond scrapping Section 21 notices in the future.
Hannah Slater, policy and public affairs manager at Generation Rent commented on the risks of landlords evicting tenants, with the plan of moving into their own properties.
She addressed this matter, saying: “We need to make sure that tenants evicted for these reasons get a longer notice period than a current two months, compensation to mitigate the financial hardship of an unwanted move…we also need to make sure that rent rises are capped or can be effectively challenged within the new tenancy.”