Letting agents can beat the upcoming ban on Section 21 by updating key documentation and automating arrears management to reduce the chances of having to evict in the first place.
That’s the view of a leading PropTech entrepreneur - Neil Cobbold, chief operating officer of automated payment service PayProp.
Scrapping Section 21 was confirmed in the Queen’s Speech earlier this month, after the Conservatives put the policy at the forefront of their ‘Better Deal for Renters’ set of pledges contained in the party manifesto.
The ban, which will be accompanied by moves to strengthen the rights of possession for good landlords, will be contained in the Renters’ Reform Bill likely to begin its process through Parliament in 2020.
"For some time, the political will - regardless of party - has been to remove Section 21 from the Housing Act 1988 and reform the eviction system" says Cobbold.
"Following the Queen’s Speech, letting agents and landlords need to start preparing for change and updating their processes accordingly as it has been confirmed that the evictions process will be reformed through the same Bill."
He says that changes to the eviction process will see agents needing to update their contract templates and eviction notices to fall in line with a new system - highly likely to revolve around a strengthened Section 8.
"One of the most important aspects of eviction reform for agents will be educating and informing landlords and tenants about how the new system will work," he explains.
"However, on top of this, they will also need to make sure their documents are up-to-date and watertight to evidence their adherence to current and proposed legislation. This will give landlords and tenants the best chance of a smooth eviction process.
"Agents who adopt thorough record-keeping and arrears management can prove their worth to landlords and increase their chances of new business and client retention" he says.
"Having the right technology and systems in place can be a huge help in making these changes seamless and efficient."
Cobbold’s advice is for agents to consider how they can reduce the threat of eviction in the first place.
"Encouraging good relationships between landlords and tenants is all-important, as is staying on top of repairs and facilitating good communication between both parties" he says.
"Rent arrears are one of the most common reasons for evictions, so agents can help landlords to keep them to a minimum by sending automated emails and text messages - which are proven to be more effective when it comes to chasing rent payments.
"Using technology and automation will be crucial for agents to stay on top of constantly changing industry regulation and legislation" Cobbold concludes.