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Scrapping of S21 and new transferable deposits likely “very soon”

The long-awaited Renters' Reform Bill, promised 14 months ago, is likely to be introduced to the House of Commons “very soon.”

The Bill is set to include the scrapping of Section 21 eviction powers and the start of the concept of lifetime deposits transferable from one property to another when a tenant moves.

It was announced in the Queen’s Speech in December 2019 and had been a prominent pledge for the Conservatives in that month’s election - but that was before the emergence of Coronavirus. 


However, it appears to be back on the government’s agenda according to Kelly Tolhurst, a minister at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

She has made a surprise announcement in an answer to a question about what steps were being taken to ensure the security of tenants in the private rental sector.

Tolhurst told MPs: “The government are committed to enhancing renters’ security by abolishing no-fault evictions. During the Covid-19 pandemic, our collective efforts have been focused on protecting people during the outbreak. This has included introducing longer notice periods and preventing evictions at the height of the pandemic on public health grounds. We will introduce a renters’ reform Bill very soon.”

When pressed further, she continued: “We are committed to abolishing no-fault evictions under section 21. Obviously, we have already taken some action. Last week, for example, my right hon. friend the Secretary of State increased the ban on evictions for a further six weeks. We have also introduced six months’ notice, which means that people who receive an order now will find that it will not go through the courts until July. We are committed to making sure that we protect anybody who is suffering homelessness. That has been borne out by the level of investment that we have put into the sector during the pandemic. We will keep all these measures under review.”

When asked about the timing of the Bill last September, housing minister Christopher Pincher told the Commons: “We will do that at the appropriate time when there is a sensible and stable economic and social terrain on which to do it.”

The Bill was one of dozens of proposed pieces of legislation to have been pushed back as Parliamentary and civil service time was occupied by Coronavirus and, until recently, Brexit.

  • jeremy clarke

    Transferable lifetime deposits?!
    Every day we see more proof that government simply doesn't want to understand or help the PRS. What happens to the landlord left with rent debt and dilapidations if the tenants leave and the deposit goes with them? Is government going to stump up the cash?
    Politicians just get worse, supported by the feckless organisations like shelter and the won't pay our rent brigades!

    Matthew Payne

    There wont be cash deposits, each tenancy will have a zero deposit insurance policy which a landlord will claim against, so deposits won't need to be mobile as we understand them today.

    Kristjan Byfield

    My understanding from conversations with several key stakeholders is that they will be cash deposits, they will be commuted to the next property any shortfall/deductions will need to be repaid/topped-up within a set timeframe. Failure and they can be legally pursued. Average deposit is around £1200 average deduction sits around £170- there is plenty of margin and vast majority of cash is readily available.

    Matthew Payne

    I dont see how cash is workable if a tenant moves out of one property straight into the next. The new agent will want cleared funds in advance, but the current agent wont release until the tenancy has ended, the deposit (or its effect) cant be in 2 places at once, unless someone underwrites one of them with their own cash, or insurance.

    If that has a solution, I cant see there being much interest for a landlord to have to sue an absent tenant who having moved on, chooses not to pay their £170 dilaps whether obligated to or not. Or if the cash remains with the current tenancy until the dilaps are resolved, is the new landlord/agent expected to accept a lower deposit and then pursue the tenant to top it up? Whats the remedy when they don't? Feels like an administrative nightmare where landlords are once again going to be the ones most exposed.

  • icon

    All the problems this country has, Covid-19; vaccinating people; illegal immigration; asylum seekers, ramifications of Brexit etc and what do the "Tory" government want? Another stick to beat the private landlord with. Since they cannot understand the basic difference between giving notice and eviction, then there is little hope for us.

    In what other business is there legislation preventing the owner of anything from getting it back? Just think, we were all worried what a Labour government would do to landlords. Well, now we know - Bozo Johnson is ding it.

    Kristjan Byfield

    Few sectors deal with something as essential as housing. A property cannot be left without access to water, hot water or heating regardless of debt. Items cannot be seized due to debt if that would seriously impact their life and/or their ability to earn money to pay back said debt. Also bare in mind this only has a sizeable impact on around 3-5% of the PRS- 85% of tenancies are terminated by tenants giving notice, take out S21 as easier route for S8, notice to sell will still be permitted to take those out.....we quickly get down to small figures. It is not the horrendous 'end of days' that so many fear (and so many others are happy to stoke those fears) and is a common fact of renting in most countries around the world.

    Barry X

    Kristjan Byfield - that's a lot of waffle but I don't think you know what you're talking about and you haven't made much sense.

    Did you know that the entire PRS was in a massive slump and it was becoming almost impossible for tenants to move or find anywhere to live - because property owners we so reluctant to rent anything to them - until the introduction of the s21 by the Housing Act 1988? Before it ALL tenants were effectively "sitting tenants" who could not be evicted and, as a result, tenanted properties were worth around only 1/3 or so of their open market value with full vacant possession. Furthermore, it was not normally possible to get finance (a mortgage) for tenanted property or property being purchased with the intention of renting it out.... do you understand ANY of this or its importance?

    The abolition of the s.21 together with the continue erosion of Landlord rights and over regulation and complication of the private rental market is undoing everything that was achieved by suddenly giving landlords the perfectly sensible right to ask for their property back if - FOR ANY REASON - they wanted it back, but at the same time still giving reasonable notice to the tenants and protecting their basic rights too.

    Quite simply, we ARE seeing the "end of days" (as you put it) of the private rental market as we know it. It's hard to say what its being replaced by (although I have a few ideas) but current private landlords - even small to medium sized "portfolio" landlords like us (my wife and I) will be squeezed or driven out and it will be nothing much to do with us.

  • Matthew Payne

    As I have just posted on LT. Renters Reform Bill = Get out of Jail Free Card in the real world game of covid monopoly.

    They have no choice but to fast track this now. They have no plan to tackle the unprecedented backlog of section 21 evictions that is coming later this year, where those tenants will then need to rely on the well provided for Social Housing sector.

    Oh, hang on, there isn't one, sorry, I meant they will sadly become homeless, and a massive headache for the government with nowhere to house them, and a general election on the horizion by 2022. Ergo, remove Section 21. Simple as that.

    Algarve  Investor

    Yeah, it makes sense for the government to feed the current ban on evictions - which would appear to be indefinite - into a ban on section 21. It knows it has massive public and cross-party support for this, so it's an easy win.

    But it surely would cause huge problems? At which point do you cut it off? Who could still evict and who couldn't? Will cases stuck in the backlog now, or ready to go after the eviction ban ends, be able to follow through with their evictions? Section 8 doesn't really seem to be a very strong replacement, from what I've read.

    Matthew Payne

    All good Qs, it will be interesting to see how they do manage the transition to avoid a cliff edge of evictions. They cant risk section 21 going back to its former notice at any point, so I can see 6 months remaining until they ram this statute through the legislative round hole. Section 8 notices I see staying in the current format for now, and likewise anyone seeking possession thorugh the Courts after they expire, as HMG still has control. What they need to quickly deal with though is the ability of landlords to remove tenants without any 3rd party involvment.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    We All know what claiming off Insurance companies is like !!!

  • icon

    This is ridiculous. The govt don’t seem to realise that the tiny number of tenants affected by S21 at least had a chance to escape a bad tenancy unpursued and without court involvement unless the tenant wanted it. Now, they will HAVE to go to court, HAVE to have their sins publicly revealed and WILL get a CCJ in all successful cases. Plus, the additional court workload will cause more problems for the court, and thus more delays. These idiots really don’t think it through, do they?


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