Labour sparks fears by pledging to ‘immediately’ scrap Section 21

By admin Jun15,2024

The Labour Party has pledged to abolish Section 21 evictions ‘immediately’ in its manifesto, prompting anxiety amongst property groups.

Section 21 evictions were due to be abolished in the Conservative Party’s ill-fated Renters Reform Bill, though only after the court system was to be reviewed.

It can take months to evict a tenant via a Section 8, where landlords need to have a reason turf a tenant out. This is due to a serious backlog in the court system, as well as lengthy delays in getting court-appointed bailiffs, which can result in landlords losing out on rent for over six months.

Mark Bailey, partner of surveyor firm Landwood Group, said: “Removing the ability of a landlord to obtain possession if and when required, is likely to reduce the amount of private housing available to rent as private landlords exit the market.”

Nathan Emerson, CEO at estate agency group, Propertymark, said: “Any aspiration to reintroduce the Renters (Reform) Bill must come with full disclosure and a realistic timeline regarding the required court reform before the removal of Section 21 evictions should ever become a reality.”

And Neil Cobbold, commercial director of property agent software group Reapit, said: “Immediately abolishing it without first reforming the court systems and creating new grounds under Section 8 will trouble landlords, which may further escalate prices as stock is withdrawn.”

All of the main parties are committed to ending Section 21, so it seems to be on its way out regardless of which party is elected.

The question is how this process will be handled.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, is clearly looking to form a working relationship with the new government, which is likely to be Labour, to ease landlords through this transitional phase.

He said: “What matters is ensuring the replacement system works, and is fair, to both renters and responsible landlords.

“Given this, we agree with the Shadow Housing Minister who has argued that ‘landlords need robust grounds for possessions in legitimate circumstances, and they need the system to operate quickly when they do.’

“We stand ready to work constructively with a potential Labour government to achieve this and ensure a smooth transition to the new system. This needs to include giving the sector time to properly prepare for it.”

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