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Section 21 possession cases plummet - despite what some say

The number of repossession cases in the courts involving landlords using Section 21 notices has plummeted over the past two years.

A new analysis of government data, made by the National Residential Landlords’ Association, shows that in the third quarter of this year the number of cases brought to County Courts in England and Wales off the back of a Section 21 notice fell by 55 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2019.

The assessment also shows that this fall is not merely as a result of the temporary ban on repossessions in response to Covid-19: even before the pandemic, between 2015 and 2019, the number of repossession cases brought after a landlord had served a Section 21 notice fell by 50 per cent.


It comes as further government data shows that fewer than one in 10 tenancies in England are ended because a landlord asks a tenant to leave.

“These figures dispel the myth, peddled by some, that landlords spend much of their time looking for ways to evict tenants for no reason. Whilst we condemn any landlord who abuses the system, it is vital to remember that the vast majority of tenants and landlords enjoy a good relationship” says Ben Beadle, association chief executive.

“It is in that spirit that the Government should develop its plans for a system to replace Section 21 in its forthcoming White Paper on rental reform” he continues.

The NRLA has developed detailed proposals for a system to replace Section 21 notices that is fair to both tenants and landlords.


It is calling for the new system to include clear and comprehensive grounds upon which landlords can legitimately repossess properties. This will need to address some of the most difficult areas, especially ensuring swift action can be taken against anti-social tenants who cause misery for their neighbours and fellow tenants.

Where legitimate possession cases do end up in court, the NRLA is calling for the government’s plans to include proposals to speed up the process. 

At present it can take an average of almost 59 weeks from a private landlord making a claim to repossess a property to it actually happening.

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  • icon

    As landlords are getting very careful with the kind of tenants they are prepared to rent to possession cases will drop, what will happen to the rogue tenants ? not our problem, that problem falls to councils and government.

    Yonnette  Roberts

    Thank you. With growing shortages of experience housing enforcement staff both in local and central governments not sure we will ever beat the rogues. But I do agree that landlords maybe spending more time checking out tenants before letting but there are a growing number of landlords using the old system of I will pay and give you a reference to go. We are not to forget that the majority of tenants leave without court proceedings and it becomes necessary right or wrong when tenants are looking to be housed by social providers. I am very pleased about the reduction in the use of s 21 it was getting a bad name

  •  G romit

    No s**t Sherlock!
    Wiuld, perchance, the pandemic and suspension of evictions have any to do with this?

  • icon

    Maybe it is because landlords have begun to realise that it is easier to evict on rent arrears ie Section 8 Ground 8 than using the section 21 process. Unless we have the figures showing how many tenants in total were evicted we are unable to compare. I always evict for fault and unfortunately too many tenants wilfully refused to pay their rent.

  • girish mehta

    The figures have proved the case, All charities and anti landlords groups have proved them wrong. Worst housing crisis in decades and the eviction is going down. Government needs to rethink their policies and support business and landlords. Not short term gain to get votes . Leave market forces to work rather then meddling in short term ill considered policies

  • icon

    Why let the truth spoil your argument?!


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