An in-depth report into the government’s plans to abolish Section 21 evictions claims it will harm the very people the ban hopes to help.
The report, commissioned by The Lettings Industry Council (TLIC), predicts that without investment into the already stretched court system, a ban will create a reduction in overall supply, higher rents and a huge leap in possession hearings.
TLIC was set up in 2015 by Theresa Wallace, Head of Compliance for Savills’ lettings division, and Kate Faulkner of Propertychecklists, to bring together representatives from all the industry’s bodies and schemes.
The organisation wants to understand the impact and risks of abolishing Section 21 evictions, which it says include tougher tenant screening and even greater exclusion of benefits claimants, lower income families and those in insecure employment.
Banning Section 21 will also lead to a 20% reduction in overall supply, 600,000 tenants facing rent increase, 770,000 few homes available to benefits claimants and 60,000 additional possession hearings.
Currently, S21 offers mandatory possession, limited scope for judicial challenges, is quick and simple and relatively low cost.
And TLIC supports improving conditions including health and safety in the PRS for tenants but says you cannot make such drastic changes to Section 21 without forward planning to deal with the inevitable impacts, and also makes recommendations to balance these impacts.
The concern is that the Government will do the bare minimum and this report shows that would create chaos across the sector. If the government is determined to forge ahead with their plans, TLIC suggest a four-pronged approach (see below) to mitigate the downsides of the abolition of the Section 21.
1. Strengthen Section 8 grounds
This should include strengthening rent arrears and anti-social behaviour grounds, ‘sale of property’ grounds and introduce an accelerated process.
Provide a mediation service fully resourced with experts to reduce the number of court cases.
3. Court reform
The judicial infrastructure will buckle if Section 21 is abolished and therefore a specialist court for evictions that can operate virtually and in person must be established.
4. Bailiff reform
Expand the bailiff system by either setting up a self-funding public bailiff service or make the use if High Court Enforcement Officers standard.