Tenants in private rental properties will have to wait even longer for ‘no-fault’ evictions to be scrapped after the government announced an indefinite delay.
The Renters (Reform) Bill got its second reading in the House of Commons yesterday, four years after Theresa May first announced plans for a “new deal for renters”.
However, following following “extensive lobbying” from landlords, the government has announced that one of its key elements will not go forward as planned.
A report from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) said the ban on Section 21 evictions will not be introduced until reforms to the court system have taken place, and the plan for changes to this have no date attached and is in itself a major project.
The controversial Section 21 evictions allow a landlord to remove a tenant at short notice with no reason. They are the most common method used for evictions and are one of the leading causes of homelessness in the UK.
The long-awaited bill was announced in May this year, pledging to abolish the Section 21 and instead strengthen landlords’ ability to evict tenants by other means through the court system.
But the NRLA (National Residential Landlord Association), which represents 98,000 landlords, led a campaign on behalf of landlord lobby groups calling for urgent reforms in the justice system. Currently, due to huge backlogs in the courts it takes way too long for repossession hearings to take place.
The NRLA submitted evidence to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee report – titled Reforming the Private Rented Sector stating that 17% of landlords surveyed told the NRLA they would leave the sector if section 21 evictions were banned. Another 60% of the 3,000 landlord surveyed ‘could envisage’ staying in the private-rented sector without Section 21, as long as court reforms and new possession rules were brought in.
NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle said: “Reform of the rental market will only work if it has the confidence of responsible landlords every bit as much as tenants. This is especially important given the rental housing supply crisis renters now face.
Tenants’ rights groups also said it was clear ministers were more interested in keeping landlords happy than ensuring renters don’t face insecurity.