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.
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.