02 Sep 2022

Agents want pilot project to test scrapping of S21

Agents are calling for a pilot project to measure the impact of the government abolishing Section 21 eviction powers.

In its response to the MPs’ Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee’s renters’ reform inquiry, Propertymark expresses concern around the lack of long-term security for property owners who make them available for rent as a result of plans to move away from fixed-term tenancies.

It welcomes the UK government’s commitment in its recent White Paper not to introduce rent controls, but questions the robustness of revised grounds for possession.

Without Section 21, Propertymark says the landlords its member agents represent still need the ability to regain possession of their properties in reasonable circumstances.

Specifically, more consideration needs to be given to how workable grounds relating to anti-social behaviour will be. Landlords currently rely on serving a Section 21 in these situations as the other existing grounds require a tenant to be convicted, which is not always likely.

The trade body also calls for changes to the court process to speed up possessions, and for a full pilot of the removal of Section 21, mediation, and the new court process to measure the impact before they are rolled out across the country.

Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns for Propertymark, says: “Economics are an important factor for investors in the private rented sector, but for many a lot also rides on sentiment and certainty.

“There are elements of the white paper that if progressed will create further risk and our member agents say they have been enough to convince some of their landlords to sell up or indicate an intention to. Our research shows many properties sold off by landlords are not returning to the rental market.

“If landlords reject the changes and no longer want to make their properties available for rent, there is a danger the private rented sector will become smaller and even more expensive. The knock-on effect will see local authorities under unmanageable pressure to help many households secure a suitable alternative against a backdrop of significant under-supply of affordable homes to rent.”

You can read Propertymark’s consultation response in full here.

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