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Is the government REALLY going to scrap Section 21 evictions?

Some lettings industry figures are beginning to express doubt as to whether the government’s broad commitment to reform the private rental sector really will result in the abolition of Section 21 eviction powers for agents and landlords.

The Queen’s Speech on Wednesday contained a broad commitment by the government to reform the sector.

At the time most observers interpreted that to mean the Renters Reform Bill, first mooted in 2019, would finally reach the House of Commons for consideration later this year, starting with a White Paper expected in the autumn to trigger more consultation.


However, leading property lawyer David Smith suggests the government pledge may be somewhat weaker than that.

Smith, a partner at JMW Solicitors, says: “There is no commitment to publish a bill to abolish s21 notices and given that bills were being promised in both the Spring and Autumn of 2021 that is very telling. 

Instead, the government has now committed itself to finally publish its response to the original consultation on getting rid of s21 - a response which it has never in fact published. 

“That is a very much weaker offer. Almost as if there is a desire to distract from this there is, mainly repeated, talk of ‘lifetime’ deposits and landlord redress schemes. There is also a statement that the government will ‘explore the merits of a landlord register’.

“This seems to me like a textbook example of kicking s21 reform into the long grass. It is clear nothing will be happening in that regard for at least a year, and possibly far longer. 

“So I very much disagree with the suggestions that this means the government is still highly committed to reform. Agents and landlords will be cheering at this while tenant groups will, with some cause given the expectations that government casually gave to them, be furious.”

And although Generation Rent - the campaign group of activists which has led the call for the abolition of Section 21 in recent times - has officially welcomed the government statement in the Queen’s Speech, some in the organisation appear less enthusiastic.

Dan Wilson Craw, the deputy director of the group, has tweeted: “Rather shockingly the Queen's Speech didn't say there would be a Bill on renters' rights this year (that thing we need to actually change the law) … The Queen says the government will ‘help more people own their own home, while enhancing rights of those who rent’. Other laws on planning, building safety and leasehold. Big question is whether the Renters Reform Bill has been rolled over from the 2019 speech.”

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    The student and young professional shared HMO rental market needs fixed term tenancies and the vehicle of section 21 to accommodate this, plus give sufficient swift support to deal with antisocial behaviour and other matters if occurring in a HMO. Otherwise the other decent tenants would be continued to be affected and ultimately their safe enjoyment compromised by their antisocial housemate, leading to all sort of other issues.

    Fixed term tenancies and the great benefit they bring to all parties in shared HMO are too long to list here, but fundamentally provide good quality accommodation to young professionals at a competitive price point, allowing them to save and getting on the property ladder themselves.

    The government need look at the very different rental demographic, all across the UK and not as they have done with the tenant fee ban, role out “one size fits all” changes.

    The proposed changes will again have a detrimental effect on decent tenants in fairly managed shared HMO’s and completely go against the governments goal of providing good quality shared and safe rental accommodation as a fair price!

    The recent S21 consultation completely ignored the HMO shared rental sub market and the Ministry of Housing actually advised that it was more targeted at "single household rentals" and HMO shared rental Landlords would be best to use the "other" box to feed back their response.  

    In the following government document, there were an estimated 497,000 HMOs in England and Wales at the end of March 2018. ‪How is it possible that this ½ a million rentals have not been recognised, or their landlords even encouraged to reply to the consultation?

    This is fundamentally a flawed consultation and strongly suspect that the HMO shared rental students and young professional market will not be excluded from the abolition of S21.

    Despite the consultation now closed as it a change to primary legislation, would require a vote in parliment.

    Would still encourage all landlords to email their MP & the Housing Minister Robert Jenrick robert.jenrick.mp@parliament.uk

    Also copy in;-


  • James B

    Probably optimistic to think it won’t happen, this is a massive vote winner
    If landlords can evict faster for rent arrears or wanting to sell can’t see any major downside


    Fast - review the Scottish courts systems! :-(

  • Matthew Payne

    Having studied politics at uni, one thing I learnt straight away is that the government spends much of its time pain stakingly and deliberatley choosing its words in statements and speeches, very very carefully, and it is what is not said that is often the interesting point, somthing that always goes straight over the head of the press as they hunt a story. Mr Sunak never said anyone would save money in the stamp duty window for example, yet that was what was reported by everyone. He knew they wouldn't, completely the opposite in fact, hence he said, stamp duty bills would fall. That's a very different proposition to saving money.

    This week, all press are junping about saying the aboliton of S21 was in the Queens speech. Complete speculation and no it wasn't. It is very interesting to note though that the government has chosen the particular words "enhancing renters rights". A lot has happened since the orginal announcement in July 2019, not least the governments now complete dependence on the PRS to underwrite the social housing sector after the pandemic, so this could be their discreet intention to throw a bone to Shelter and friends, but fall short of actually repealing section 21. Why did they not announce they were going to repeal S21 if that was their plan? It is a very popular policy after all especially with Labour voters and 8 million tenants. The press department miss an opportunity, or is that not the plan anymore.....? Don't be surprised if it stays for a bit longer.

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    Section 21 will be abolished, without doubt, but Section 8 will be beefed up, to protect
    decent tenants from antisocial behaviour.

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    • 17 May 2021 08:09 AM

    And what about LL who need to evict?


    Google and review the governments 2019 consultation for scrapping S21 - read the FAQ for a better idea on what was proposed


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