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EXPERT: 'Binning Section 21 won't help as many tenants as campaigners hope'

kristjan byfield zoopla section 21 evictions

Section 21 is the biggest headline grabbing element of the Renters Reform Bill but will be the least effective pieces of the legislation.

That's according to letting agent Kristjan Byfield (main picture), co-founder of Base Property Specialists, who believes the changes will only affect a tiny percentage of the tenants it sets out to protect.

He says it's estimated that between 85-90% of all tenancies are ended by the tenant, while other reasons for taking a property back such as wanting to sell constitute another 5-6%.

Breach

'Section 21 when used by a landlord or letting agent is perceived to be an easier way to remove a tenant who is in breach of contract [for non payment of rent usually],'� said Byfield during an interview by property portal Zoopla.

'At the moment they have to be at least two months in arrears to start an action and two months in arrears at the point your hearing happens '� a lot of tenants play the game with that.'�

With the onus instead on repetitive arrears under the new bill, it should help landlords and agents, he said.

'We have one tenant we're pursuing through the courts for Section 21 and their rent arrears go up to three months then back to one.

"It's a difficult battle but with the new legislation we hope we'll be in a much stronger position with tenants like that in future.'�

Decent homes

Byfield added although it's disappointing that preventing tenants from living in a property without mould and heating needs to be legislated, the bill sets a clear framework.

'It's really important for private landlords to understand as there will be more technical requirements for what is considered a decent home, a suitable response as to what gets reported and that you've made an effort to address it.

'A lot of landlords will need to pull their bootstraps up because an attitude of '�I'll get to it when I get to it' is not going to fly.'�

Read more abouthandling the evictions process.

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