Section 21 evictions:

The future of the no-fault eviction process, mainstay of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy since its inception in 1988, is to be debated on a BBC Panorama programme this evening, Wednesday 21 February at 8:30 pm.

The programme, with an interview featuring Landlord Action’s Paul Shamplina, will investigate the widely debated Section 21 no-fault eviction procedure, and the programme questions whether tenants deserve more protection, or whether new rules would make the housing crisis even worse.

Paul Shamplina puts forward the case for retaining the process, arguing from his own experience, gained over many years running a leading national eviction company, what he claims are the real reasons why landlords turn to Section 21.

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Instances of what have come to be known as `no-fault evictions’ are reported to have trebled in the last eight years. BBC’s investigative journalist, Richard Bilton, claims to shed light on the difficulties faced by many private tenants in the UK, who have no long-term right to stay in their homes, and can be ordered to leave with “little by the way of notice or explanation”.

Richard meets some of the people whose lives have been plunged into chaos by their landlords but also talks to landlords who feel Section 21 is their only option. Britain depends on the private rented sector (PRS), and ‘no fault evictions’ feel like a lifeline for Britain’s millions of landlords, and the main reason why they stay in the business.

Panorama interviewed Paul Shamplina, who Founded Landlord Action in 1999, and their senior solicitor, Emma Philips, about the rise of section 21 no-fault evictions.  Commenting on the program, Mr Shamplina says:

“When asked to appear on Panorama, I felt a necessity to present the landlords’ side on why so many use no-fault Section 21.  The term ‘no fault’ is really a bit of a red herring.  There is always a reason why a landlord ends a tenancy, but it’s a far cry from the headlines showing that landlords use it just to throw tenants out.

“If a landlord has a good tenant, the last thing they want to do is get rid of a them. However, in our experience, the main reasons for serving Section 21 notices are for rent arrears, tenants requesting to be evicted so they can be re-housed or, most recently, because landlords wish to sell their property owing to impending tax liabilities.”

New tenancy rules introduced in December 2017 ended the practice of no-fault evictions in Scotland. It introduced a time limitless tenancy for the PRS, with 18 grounds on which the landlord, providing sufficient evidence is put forward to a property tribunal, can argue for re-possession. Rather than having an automatic right to the property back, landlords in Scotland will place themselves in the hands of a tribunal.

Following this, Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn said his party’s next manifesto will include a pledge to scrap no-fault evictions in England.

Shamplina adds: “There are some very good tenants out there.  Sadly in some cases, they are being evicted through no fault of their own but rather because of their landlords’ circumstances, which must be very upsetting.  However, in my opinion, the abolition of Section 21 in England would compound the housing shortage.”

The average time taken for a landlord to evict a tenant using Section 21 is between 3 and 9 months, and more evictions are carried out by the smaller social landlord sector (councils and housing associations) than in the PRS.

Watch Panorama on BBC One, Wednesday 21st February, 8:30 pm.

©LandlordZONE® – legal content applies primarily to England and is not a definitive statement of the law, always seek professional advice.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I was evicted along with my two children under a section 21 after 10yrs through no fault of my own, I lost everything all my belongings including irrplacable photographs a family Bible going back 300yrs gold jewelery coin collection etc all robbed and remainder skipped . It destroyed me, and I have never been able to come to terms with how I was ruthlessly marched out of my home along with my children, it’s disgusting and disgraceful and was illegal the way it was executed. I would press charges and claim my rights if I was given the opportunity.

  2. Section 21 is a three stage process and it looks like you went through all three: (1) 2 months notice, (2) landlords court application for a possession order in which you have a right to defend and usually takes around 2 to 3 months, (3) bailiff eviction, another 2 to 3 weeks or more, all in all a period of 4 to 6 months, even 9 months in some cases – it could hardly have come as a surprise.
    Why did you not leave when you were asked to and find other accommodation when it was obvious the landlord could legally gain possession?
    Why did you not take your belongings with you?, and why did you not hold the landlord to account if he skipped them? You have a right to them and the landlord is under a legal obligation to protect them until you collect, perhaps you never made an effort to collect and lumbered the landlord with them?
    Are you sure this was no fault of your own?, was the rent up-to-date and did you pay it regularly. Was the rent well below market level? What was the state of the property?, after 10 years was it a tip?
    Were you looking to be re-housed by the council? Is that why you stayed on until you were evicted on the advice of the council?
    Always two sides to these stories.

  3. As a landlord of 20years myself, things are getting tighter all the time with new laws etc. I have always try to help my tenants wherever possible. Trying to keep every thing up to date & within the law, all they seem to want to do is quash the private landlord as if we are the problem (as a known example a friend of mine lives in a council property & the bathroom has severe mold through no fault of there’s but councils answer is cost and they are not willing to amend the problem) if this was my tenant I would be called as a bad landlord. As long as I am informed of the problem it will be sorted within 48hrs hopefully so why is it one rule for council & another for private landlords? Section 21 allows the landlord to remove the tenant when they are behind in rent arrears, they are required to be 8weeks behind in rent arrear before this process can even begin, however, I still have to pay the mortgage on the property that is housing them. However, people living in local authority housing receive a letter after just one missed or late payment.

  4. New tenancy rules introduced in December 2017 ended the practice of no-fault evictions in Scotland. It introduced a time limitless tenancy for the PRS, with 18 grounds on which the landlord, providing sufficient evidence is put forward to a property tribunal, can argue for re-possession. Rather than having an automatic right to the property back, landlords in Scotland will place themselves in the hands of a tribunal.

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