The government’s proposed scrappage of Section 21 has been deemed unworkable and could threaten the supply of rental homes across the UK, according to the Residential Landlord Association (RLA).
Plans to scrap Section 21 were announced by the government back in April, but the RLA has been a vocal critic of the move, believing the measures would fail to ensure that a landlord could regain possession of a property.
The RLA’s comments come as the government’s consultation on scrapping Section 21 closes on 12th October, after having been open to the public for several weeks, allowing relevant parties to have their say about the proposals.
Association raises concerns
One of the RLA’s top concerns regarding the government’s consultation was that it failed to consider proposals that would actually prevent the breakdown of tenancies occurring.
The RLA claimed that issues surrounding Universal Credit were a common reason why tenants find themselves in rent arrears, and that the consultation didn’t include provisions for this issue.
The scrappage of Section 21 could also have the unintended consequence of making it harder for landlords to evict tenants displaying anti-social behaviour, they added, as the new system of requiring landlords to provide legal grounds for eviction would open them up to the possibility of these tenants simply challenging their eviction notice.
This increasing level of legal wrangling would require proof to be presented, but the RLA added that those affected might be unwilling to do so, especially if they were continuing to live with their tenants in the run-up to any court hearings.
Differing views towards scrappage
In a survey of its members, the RLA found that 84 per cent of respondents would be more likely to become more selective about who they rented to, if the system made it less certain they could regain possession from tenants, in the event of rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.
Another potential consequence of the measure that the RLA cited was that the number of landlords operating in the private rental sector (PRS) could potentially decline, reducing the supply of rental properties and pushing up rents for existing ones.
In contrast, the pressure group Generation Rent has welcomed the government’s proposals. On 8th October, some of its members, as well as members of the London Renters Union, paid a visit the Ministry of Housing.
Their members assembled outside the ministry’s offices, displaying banners and signs, sharing stories about unfair evictions, as well as calling on the government to guarantee the security of tenure for renters.
At the time of writing, it is unclear precisely when Section 21 is likely to be scrapped, but all three main political parties now explicitly support moves to scrap it, meaning it is highly unlikely the proposals would be overturned, no matter which party forms the next government after a general election.