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Legal Opinion - ending S21 will push up rents, force landlords out

Government plans to ban Section 21 evictions could push up rents and reduce rental stock, a property dispute expert is warning.

Lee Pearce - partner and head of dispute resolution at Essex-based Ellisons Solicitors - says the reform is described as being a positive change for tenants but could effectively backfire. 

Pearce warns in a blog on his company’s website: “There will most definitely be a contraction in the private rented sector as an investment class. The sector may become less attractive if landlords, in appropriate circumstances, cannot rely upon quick and effective means of regaining control of their properties. 


“Whether the mandatory grounds for possession, which is set to ensure the system also works for responsible landlords, letting agents and communities, will answer landlords calls for certainty remains to be seen.”

And if that comes to pass, Pearce says alternative forms of accommodation for tenants displaced by landlords exiting the sector have few alternatives. 

“Local councils already have lengthy waiting lists for social and affordable housing. If the result is fewer properties coming onto the market, then this may actually push rents higher and will ultimately not be a positive result for the rental market.”

He also anticipates possible court delays, adding: “In a no-fault eviction, a landlord can use an accelerated paper-based procedure which does not involve the under-resourced courts and avoids considerable delays that come with listing a hearing at a county court service.

“With the new proposal, the tenant has the opportunity to attend a hearing and for landlords to evidence the grounds that have been met. However, the government has said it will seek to expedite the court process which would go a long way to address landlord’s concerns.”

In his critique of the proposals in the Fairer Private Rental Sector White Paper, he continues: “At present if a landlord is looking to sell the property, the ‘no-fault eviction’ process would be used. However, the new proposal states that a new ground will be introduced to ensure landlords are still able to recover possession of the property when they wish to sell their property, move into the property, or allow close family members to move into the property.

“Landlords are also to be provided further protection against tenants who are repeatedly in serious rental arrears. Currently, unless a tenant is in two months’ rent arrears at the date of the hearing, the Judge is not required to grant a possession order. 

“The new proposals mean that providing a tenant has been in at least two months’ rent arrears three times within the previous three years, the Judge is required to grant a possession order, no matter what the arrears are at the date of the hearing. This will protect landlords against tenants who repeatedly get into arrears but stay below the current two-month threshold. 

“With the new proposal, the notice period will also be reduced where the tenant is involved in criminal behaviour or serious antisocial behaviour, but will be increased for rental arrears grounds.”

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    Waste of time more rubbish of the highest degree.
    With the New Proposal the Tenant has the opportunity to attend Court and for Landlord to EVIDENCE GROUNDS HAS BEEN MET, really so he now has to justify himself as owner to the Tenant & Courts that he would like his own Property back. About time those worse that useless parasites trying to make those rules grew up, anyone that has bought a property knows too well how difficult it is, how many years to pay for it and the Sacrifices made, probably cost you half a million if in London but now don’t worry about any that just
    hand it over to someone off the Street or the ones on Benefit given priority, (the ones that get their kids reared, education for free gets Children allowance even though they contributed nothing and by the way don’t forget to claim the extra £326. costs of living increase that’s specifically for they). Roll on why not give them my house as well saved them buying one, easy peasy.


    Exactly. I have foreigner tenants. On benefits. Lazy f***s they are. All I want I want. Being told what they are entitled to all the time. Lots of kids all paid for by us.

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    It’s the ASB that will cause real issue, the burden of proof needed to obtain a criminal conviction at court is huge, and that hinges on if you can get neighbours to give a statement (unlikely). This will be the thing that landlords notice first.

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    I agree with Simon that ASB is the worrying one. Gathering proof or neighbours statements is incredibly hard if they are terrified of possible repercussions. One of my tenants had their car windows smashed because their neighbour mistakenly thought my tenant had reported them to the Council. It was actually me who had asked the Council what they were doing about their tenants behaviour. It took 10 years for the Council to finally rehouse the person who had spent 10 years torturing the neighbourhood with her constant stream of drug dealer boyfriends, uncontrolled dog, throwing dog mess off her balcony, loud music and out of control kids. If Councils can't evict their tenants for ASB what hope have PRS landlords got?


    Jo- I work in job that deals with this often..... the housing associations are as powerless as the rest of us, i see this new white paper not adding anything to this particular problem which is positive. I have real fears about the ASB aspect. The s21 option was the ' get out of jail free card', without it i feel we are in real trouble if your tenants turn out to be the wrong type !!!

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    Since when did this Govt allow the truth to get in the way of their narrative?

    Soaring rents, shrinking PRS - let'd hit LLs again. Then we can be sure all 3 the tenants in the PRS will have a safe and decent home! First BTL sold - on to the next one :(

  • David Saunders

    With property prices going ever higher, I doubt there is a snowball's chance in hell of any sane owner of a house or flat in London risking being shackled with a sitting tenant plus likely rent controls after section 21 is outlawed and the value of their property is reduced by minimum of 50%. Hence the sxxt will hit the fan as homeless figures in the capital likely go into orbit and our politicians scuttle around all blaming one another for another fine mess they've gotten us into.

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    Nick van Hoogstraaten (there's no reply option to reply directly to your comment)- I think it's unfair to single out foreigners. I have Eastern Europeans in one of my properties who are working, paying the rent and keeping the place clean. I had a young Brit in one property on benefits (he was working when I took him on as a tenant) who left (finally), owing me 8 months rent and left the place in a disgusting state with piles of rubbish and ruined carpets and flooring!
    With the cost of living crisis and rents rising so much I think we are going to see more people defaulting on their rents. And tenants are becoming more aware of how to play the system, knowing how difficult it is for landlords to evict them (even before ending S21).


    I've had East European tenants often better than the British, isn't that a sad state of affairs


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