A new Renter’s Reform Bill is to be introduced to protect tenants, as proposed during the Queen’s Speech in Parliament yesterday.
The Bill would remove Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, giving tenants more security through the abolition of ‘no fault’ evictions, as well as reforming grounds for possession.
The Bill would also give landlords more rights to gain possession of property through the courts “where there is a legitimate need to do so” through legislation reform, as well as making improvements to the court process for this.
In September, ARLA Propertymark urged the government to reform the judicial system by providing access to specialist courts before any changes to Section 21 were made.
Under the current system, it can take landlords months to regain possession of a property. Section 8 isn’t currently used because it is “complex, costly and has too many discretionary grounds”.
The Association said it hoped that the introduction of a dedicated housing tribunal would “considerably” cut the time it would take a landlord to gain property possession, as well as simplify all processes involved.
It said: “Without an effective court process and tightened mandatory grounds for eviction the Government’s proposals will have a negative impact on the private rented sector.”
Chief executive of Arla Propertymark, David Cox, said: “In the absence of any meaningful plan to boost the level of social housing in this country, the announcement confirming the abolition of Section 21 in today’s Queen’s speech is another attack against the landlords who actually house the nation.
“If Section 21 is scrapped, Section 8 must be reformed, and a new specialist housing tribunal created. Without this, supply will almost certainly fall which will have the consequential effect of raising rents and will further discourage new landlords from investing in the sector.”
He added: “ARLA Propertymark will be engaging with the Government to ensure they fully understand the consequences of any changes, and we will be scrutinising the legislation, to ensure landlords have the ability to regain their properties if needed.”