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Scrapping S21 “a disaster” if court reform doesn’t happen - warning

The abolition of Section 21 evictions will be a disaster without improvement to the courts system, a property industry chief insists. 

Ian Fletcher, director of policy at the British Property Federation, writes in Inside Housing that the Renters Reform Bill currently going through Parliament rests on a strong consensus. And he believes it has widespread support because it seeks to strike a balance - landlords lose Section 21 eviction powers but has improved grounds for possession in return.

But Fletcher argues that any ground for possession relies on a well-functioning court system - and without such a system, the strengthened grounds for possession are mythical.


He says that a well-functioning court system is not merely a return to the pre-pandemic normality because that in fact carried substantial delays. He writes: “Reform is needed because ‘normal’ is a very poor service, and with landlords relying solely on court-approved repossessions, normal is all they have. The likelihood is that normal would get worse too, as the workload of the courts increases with the new system.”

Fletcher cites digitisation as an example of what court reform could look like.

He writes: This would help improve case processing times, provide a far more customer-friendly service and help the system cope with greater volumes. The government is committed to digitalisation for possession cases, which is great, but it won’t provide any detail on how that project is progressing.”

You can see the whole article here, although to some readers it may be behind a paywall.

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  • Sarah Fox-Moore

    Scrapping Section 21 without Court reform is like demolishing a bridge without putting a ferry service in place first; everyone will be trapped on the bank of the river.

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    I don’t agree that the RRB new ‘improved grounds for possession’ are in fact any kind of improvement, on the contrary they are less than no compensation for the loss of sec21.

    As to court reform we all know it won’t happen.


    Sadly I fear you’re correct 🥵 Whom really thinks that Labour will take all this common sense into account when they win with a huge majority 🤷‍♂️ They won’t, they will bring it in en-masse and won’t give us a second thought 🫣😬

  • Nic  Kaz

    This isn’t this first voice to point out the obvious, but like the others it will be drowned out by all those blindly screaming for immediate abolition of S21. RRF is now a political hot potato: be sensible, scrap it and lose votes - or press on and deal with the consequences at some misty later date….


    The current tory government won't deal with the consequences.. They are passing the baby to Labour and we know Angela Rayner will double down on punishing the "capitalist landlords "!

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    NRLA - take note!

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    Removing Section21 will not remove the desire to evict a tenant, the tenant will still be evicted by whatever means possible. The difference will be the eviction will be recorded with a reason. Their will then be statistics available showing why tenants are being evicted. Could a landlord check if prospective tenants have been evicted due to non payment of rent?


    The only issue is that it will be left at the discretion of the judge.. No prize for guessing which side the Judge will be on.. Not yours.. "Poor tenant, greedy exploitative landlord!"

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    I had a very bad experience two years ago having to evict an awful tenant from an HMO.. Antisocial behaviour including hate crime against a Jewish housemate..
    I used a section 21 as advised by my lawyer because Antisocial behaviour is impossible to prove if witnesses don't want to come to the tribunal.. And they don't!
    Costed me £25k between the loss of rents and legal fees.. Never again! How:
    - Avoid all "vulnerable " tenants, tenants with a low level of qualifications (like the thug I evicted) only graduates in graduate types of work.
    This seems to work, touch wood!
    I feel sorry for those people on benefits.. I wouldn't have them in my properties.

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    Another issue I have existing Tenants wants to bring in Refugees / Asylum seekers who may seem ok in themselves but have limited Government leave to remain, what happens when that expires.


    On the subject of refugees, if you have a house empty at the moment and are paying double council tax on it, you could perhaps offer it to Ukranian refugees rent free for six months. You will receive a small payment for doing that. I believe you don't need a licence if there is no rent coming in from the occupants.

    I am not sure what complications would result from doing that though.


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