The consultation about the Abolition of Section 21 ended in October. Groups representing landlords and letting agents have come together to form an alliance to oppose the government’s plan to scrap Section 21 no-fault evictions. The ‘Fair Possessions Coalition’ believes Section 21 repossessions should be retained until a new system can replace it which provides security and confidence in repossessing in justified circumstances.
The coalition cautions that abolishing Section 21 without putting a new process in place will damage the buy to let market. The coalition includes landlord associations, including Eastern Landlords Association, the letting agent trade body the Association of Residential Letting Agents, as well as eviction specialists Landlord Action.
Initial proposals are that in respect of Section 8 proceedings Ground 1 is expanded to include family members who can move into the property. MHCLG proposes to include children and family members of the landlord or their spouse or partner as well. The Government is considering a mandatory Ground for possession to sell a property. Landlords would be required to give prior notice to the tenant before the tenancy agreement is signed to ensure that they are aware that the landlord might sell the property at some stage.
With Ground 8 (rent arrears) the Government “is interested in how it can improve the grounds on rent arrears to find a solution that suits both tenants and landlords.” This is a mandatory ground if the tenant still has one month’s (or more) worth of rent arrears outstanding by the time of the hearing. If the arrears are under one month by this time, then the ground is discretionary. A proposed change is if the landlord can prove a pattern of behavior that shows the tenant has built up arrears and paid these down on three previous occasions, then the judge must consider it a mandatory ground.
With Ground 13 (which deals with neglect, damage and subletting at the property) Government proposes amending this ground “to enable a landlord to evict a tenant if they are obstructing the landlord in carrying out their duties in relation to their safety responsibilities.” In the Consultation the Government expresses a wish to receive other ideas and suggestions for Grounds that might need to be added in a scenario where Section 21 is abolished.