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The Liberal Democrats passed a motion on the floor of their 2019 autumn party conference this week, agreeing to propose the scrappage of Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, in a move aimed at protecting tenants. This follows the government’s own proposed scrappage of Section 21 in April.

Supporters of the idea claim scrappage of Section 21 ensures that landlords must give a reason for seeking repossession, but critics of the idea believe the move will simply result in indefinite tenancies or fewer landlords putting properties on the market, constricting supply in the private rented sector (PRS).

Since the government’s proposal to scrap Section 21, a consultation was launched, which invited those affected to offer their views. The consultation runs until 12th October.

National Landlord Investment Show – MPU

Scrappage motion passes

Party policy for the Liberal Democrats is agreed during their annual party conferences, and their move to propose the scrappage of Section 21 this year simply highlights the growing support for reforms to private renting across the main political parties.

With the increasing likelihood of a general election in the coming months, especially due to the continued Brexit-related political deadlock, the policy is likely to be included in the next Liberal Democrat manifesto, as the party tries to broaden its support beyond its pro-European support base.

For many years, landlords have been entitled to seek repossession of properties, without having to give a reason. However, in the last 12 months, the three main parties have moved decisively against the idea of no-fault evictions. The Labour Party proposed scrappage back in September 2018, followed by Theresa May’s government just seven months later.

When the government proposed the move to scrap no-fault evictions in April, they argued that they were seeking to end unfair evictions.

Cross-party consensus

The decision by the Liberal Democrats, to come out in support of the scrappage of Section 21, forms a cross-party consensus on reforms for the PRS, especially regarding no-fault evictions.

Housing charity Shelter commended the move, saying: “Good news that the Lib Dems have voted in support of scrapping Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions, after a robust debate. With overwhelming cross-party support, it’s now over to the government to follow through and end Section 21, to give renters more security.”

Mark Platt, a member of Generation Rent and a Liberal Democrat activist, claimed: “Section 21 makes many private renters second-class citizens, forced to endure circumstances that compromise their health or risk their safety, because they are poor or low-waged, or can’t get a foot on the property ladder.”

Mr Platt was responsible for bringing forward the Section 21 motion at this year’s Liberal Democrat autumn conference, having campaigned for the scrappage of no-fault evictions for a number of years.

Mr Platt concluded that the move to scrap Section 21 wouldn’t fix what he called the UK’s broken homes infrastructure, before adding: “but it will be a great start towards ensuring that private renters can have homes as safe and secure as those who are fortunate to own theirs.”

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Peter Adams
Peter reports for Property Notify about how political developments have a direct impact on the UK housing market. He does this, through his reporting on topics such as Brexit, government policy and the various political arguments that surround housing.

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8 Comments

  1. In the face of scrapping section 21, a potential right to by, compulsory registration threat and rent control murmurs, I made the decision to quit the rental market and today I served 21 notice on my tenants of nearly 10 years. That is the true impact of abolition of section 21.

    1. I’m seriously thinking of doing the same thing.

    2. A wise decision with communist Corbin and John McDonald tenant will be losing their home due to extreme left wing policies.

  2. I am starting to sell off myself aswell two gone last year another 3 this year writings on the wall for the PRS

    1. Yep I agree the rot has sent in and I intend to sell up like you.
      The numbers of LL intending to sell up is unprecedented.
      It is clear that increasing numbers of long standing LL have come to the conclusion that the business equation no longer adds up.
      It seems the S21 issue is the tipping point.

      Very few LL will be selling to other LL so where are all the booted out tenants going to live!!???
      They won’t suddenly become FTB as they could have been so before or while renting.

      So richer people will become FTB while the former tenants are homeless……………………………………RESULT……………………………………..NOT!!!!
      Personally I can’t wait to sell up.
      I have had my bellyful of AST tenants.
      I will be a very happy ex-AST LL!!

  3. Government do as they please also i am property owner also selling mine and going into buy and sell rather renting.

  4. Can anyone suggest a clause that would give landlords a lesser form of Section 21 _ ie a halfway option?

    1. A lesser form of S21!?
      How about this then
      S21 only permitted to be used in cases of RENT DEFAULT ONLY
      That means that EVERY S21 will be a FAULT based NTQ
      So Shelter and GR can hardly then claim it is a NON-FAULT eviction!!!!!!!!!

      All other evictions can be carried out via S8
      OF course if the tenant to be evicted via S8 STOPS paying the FULL contractual rent then the LL may use the S21 process.

      Of course if the LL has used the S13 process then 1 year later he is entitled to increase the rent.
      So if the LL is using the S8 process then he may use S21 as the tenant will naturally default on the increased rent amount as it will be at such a level that the tenant will default.
      Of course the tenant could always refer the S13 rent increase to the Rent Tribunal to cause further delay.
      But few would bother and therefore the S21 process would work.
      There would be NO question of the tenant catching up on rent.
      Once 2 rent defaults which would be 1 month and 1 day had occurred then the S21 process could be commenced.
      Surely Shelter etc wouldn’t object to S21 being used for evictions for rent default only!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!????????????????????????

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