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Evictions specialist wants landlords to have a say on Section 21

There is no such thing as 'no-fault' eviction under Section 21, according to evictions specialist Paul Shamplina.

The founder of Landlord Action insists that there is always a reason why a landlord wants possession. 

According to a survey carried out by Landlord Action on LandlordZone, 58% of the time it is down to rent arrears and just 0.5% are because the tenant has asked for repairs to be carried out – known as ‘Retaliation Eviction’.

Shamplina wrote in his latest blog post: “Most of the time tenants will not know the reason because landlords do not have to give one.  There has never been any specific data, but The Lettings Industry Council is calling on its members to send out surveys to theirlandlords andletting agent databases to find out how many Section 21s are being sent out and for what reason.

“As I have said in previous articles, from sitting in various meetings with trade bodies and landlord associations, the industry is coming together and hasone clear message to the government: ‘Do not ban Section 21 until we have a clear understanding that the Court System or Housing Courts have sufficient investment to cope with the extra hearings, judges, administration and portals.  We need better education tools for tenants and an overhaul of the bailiff system so that landlords are confident they can gain possession if required.”

Shamplina firmly believes that the proposed scrapping of Section 21 is the “biggest change and threat to landlords in years”.

He continued: “Much greater than additional stamp duty, Section 24 mortgage interest relief or the tenant fees ban. Whether it’s a landlord with one property, a professional landlord with a large portfolio or a big institutional investor in the Build to Rent sector, investors need confidence.”

Banning Section 21, longer-term tenancies and introducing a Housing Court are all linked and must work together, according to the evictions specialist.

He added: “Next week, I have MHCLG coming to our offices to shadow our Landlord Action solicitors, case workers, paralegals and support staff.  We want to demonstrate the positives but also the challenges faced with the currentsystem and offer our thoughts on what is needed for landlords in terms of better lead times, so that landlords can have confidence in buy-to-let in the future. The Ministry of Justice must invest.

“If we look at 2018 statistics from the Ministry of Justice, in total 116,500 claims were issued, 71,500 from social landlords, 22,500from private landlord using Section 8 with hearings and 22,500 for accelerated possession proceedings. Out of the 116,500 claims, 89,000 had possession orders granted, from which 60,000 went on to have a warrant issued and 32,000 were repossessions by county court bailiffs. The ministry of Justice last year made over £7.2 million in bailiff warrant fees.”

A breakdown the accelerated procedure (Section 21) figures from 2018:

+ 22,500 claims were issued

+ 18,000 went on to have possession orders

+ 12,700 went on to have warrants issued

+ 10,000 led to evictions under the accelerated procedure

Shamplina went on: “Although we don’t know the exact figures because Section 21 is “no-fault”, we do know that a lot of these evictions are still as a result of councils encouraging tenants to stay put until they are evicted because of the chronic shortage of social housing. This puts the burden back on the landlord with lost time, rent arrears and stress for both the landlord and tenant.

“So, my point is, what will happen to these tenants if Section 21 is banned? Although many Section 21 cases are down to rent arrears, this is not stated. If landlords are told to use Section 8 with a hearing and obtain a money order, the councils will then see that a tenant has incurred rent arrears and made themselves homeless,they will therefore be under no obligation to re-house them.  What impact will that have?

“In addition, I predict that Section 8 hearings will doublebecause landlords who would previously have used Section 21 will use Section 8. This will double the amount of court time before judges that is required, also meaning that a major recruitment drive of judges to deal with the increased number of hearings will be necessary.

“I have been very vocal for many years on Section 8 and I strongly believe that when a money order is made, a County Court Judgement should be registered.This would help landlords to gauge if their tenants have had rent arrears possession cases made against them in the past and possibly save them from repeat circumstances, but I cannot see the government agreeing to this.”

The government has now launched a 12-week consultation on Tenancy Reform in England which will consider proposals to scrap Section 21, improve the court system and an alternative process for regaining possession of a property via Section 8. This change is one of the biggest reforms in the PRS for many many years. I urge as many landlords and letting agents to complete this survey and have your say now.

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    Having tried to respond to the MHCLG Survey this morning wasting my time because I failed and it wouldn't let me continue but said submit before I was finished.
    This Survey is a disgrace and once again only Graduates & Digital Academics, excludes all traditional Landlords who houses hundreds of thousands of Tenants, we are just being ignored. At least they got the name right Monkey Survey it must be a Survey for Monkeys. Thanks for wasting more of my time but no worries I am Free. Welcome to the worst Recession ever caused by this nonsense, houses sitting on the market not selling or letting, existing Flats not a hope because of those Regulations & so called help to buy plus building thousands of Flats clearly not required.

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    Just completed it and sent, no problem.

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    Good on you a better man than me, 50 question all rigged to do away with Section 21 but I forgot it’s already decided. Silly me good idea to have a monkey survey. The 25 to 30 minutes didn’t cut it either but sure my time is free.

  • Paul Barrett

    I have no problem with S21 being abolished and to be replaced by enhanced S8 facilities EXCEPT IN CASES OF RENT DEFAULTING!!!!!!
    Usage of S21 for rent defaulting would clearly be a fault based eviction.
    At the same time as transferring all other eviction circumstances to S8 the remaining S21 facility for rent default needs to be radically improved.
    It should be a standard County Court process that grants a Warrant for Eviction the day after 2 month's of rent arrears have occurred.
    So literally on the FIRST working day after the 2nd month of rent default which would be 1 month and 1 day where rent is paid in advance the LL is given his Warrant of Eviction via email.
    So no need for PO etc.
    Go straight to Eviction Warrant.
    The LL may then arrange for bailiffs to enforce the Eviction.
    The LL could either use CC or HCEO bailiffs.
    As CC bailiffs aren't usually available within reasonable times the more expensive HCEO would be used a great deal more by LL.
    So a lot more material for the Can't Pay; Won't Pay TV series!!!
    Of course many LL would try to work with tenants to resolve the rent arrears rather than evicting but if a LL has a recalcitrant tenant then the S21 process would be used.
    In my scenario tenants could beat the S21 by reducing rent arrears to 1 month but it would be the tenant who would be liable for the cost of the Eviction Warrant.
    I would suggest that most LL will ascertain as to whether the tenant was going to reduce rent arrears to 1 month or more or the Eviction Warrant would be obtained.
    Many LL would seek to manage any arrears resolution do that in practice few Eviction Warrants would be required.
    All Councils would be aware that the only reason a S21 was used rather than S8 was because of RENT DEFAULT.
    Just having this threat remaining of S21 would wonderfully concentrate the minds of rent defaulting tenants and Councils.
    They would be faced with homeless tenants a lot quicker that is currently the case.
    Of course we all know none of this will occur.
    The abolished S21 process will simply leave S8.
    The Govt will effectively leave the S8 process as it is.
    Evicting even a rent defaulting tenant will become a very long and expensive process and I would suggest prohibitively long due to insufficient Court availability.
    The idea that S21 evictions can be achieved in 5 months is fantasy land.
    More like 10 months.
    This will go to 20 months if every LL is forced to use S8.
    So LL may we achieve eventual eviction but for mortgaged LL not before the lender has repossessed the property.
    I doubt many LL could sustain paying a mortgage for 20 months without rent being paid.
    Such circumstances will not go unnoticed by lenders.
    Their reaction must surely be to be far more robust in lending criteria.
    This would mean far fewer LL would be able to scale up and many aspirant LL would be rejected.
    Mortgages support 50% of the PRS.
    If such leverage ISN'T so readily available because of more stringent lending criteria and justifiably so what happens!?
    A ever shrinking PRS can only result.

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