The Government has again changed its mind when it comes to the Section 21 and has made a major concession. It will now not be scraped until improvements have been made to the way that courts handle legitimate possession cases. It has been noted that court cases can take anyway from over half a year onwards to get the process of possession. This is where landlords have a good cause such as tenants in rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.
The house of commons housing select committee, instead of MP’s debating that the Renters Reform Bill on Monday said that the Government would implement a new system of repossessing properties and “will not take place until sufficient progress is made to improve the courts”.
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“That means we will not proceed with the abolition of Section 21, until the Reform to justice system is in place”.
This means that Section 21’s will not be outlawed by the new Renters Reform Bill. The Government has agreed to establish a new ground to repossess properties to check the yearly nature of the student housing market. It will now “introduce a ground for possession that will facilitate the yearly cycle of short term student tenancies”, which “will enable new students to sign to a property in advance, safe in the knowledge that they will have somewhere to live the next year”.
This seems to be a major concession right at the end of the final working day when the second reading of the Renters Reform Bill was due to take place. The Government has now started to listen in that some of the Renters Reform Bill is not workable on a day by day basis. The Government want to protect the student housing market. Moreover is needed to ensure that student landlords are treated the same as providers of purpose built accommodation.
The abolition of the Section 21 was the centre piece of the Renters Reform Bill. The Renters Reform Bill has its second reading at the house of commons today.
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The Government have now decided that they will be doing the following before implementing the abolition of the Section 21;
- Digitizing more of the court process to make it simpler and easier for landlords to use.
- Exploring the prioritisation of certain cases including anti-social behaviour.
- Improving bailiff recruitment.
- Reducing administration tasks so bands can prioritise possession enforcement.
- Providing early legal advice and better sign posting for tenants including helping them to find housing solutions.
- Strengthening mediation and dispute resolution.
However, this means that landlords will also need to be part of the new ombudsman scheme.
Unfortunately, the Government has rejected calls for many experts in the lettings industry for a dedicated housing court. Stating the cost would outweigh the benefit.
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We believe this will not be the only amendment to the Renters Reform Bill now or in the future.