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Evictions - What Next? Industry must rethink process, say leaders

Two of the most respected figures in the lettings sector are calling on agents, landlords and tenants to consider the future of the eviction process.

Paul Shamplina - star of Channel 5’s Evicted! Nightmare Tenants, founder of Landlord Action and chief commercial officer at Hamilton Fraser - has joined leading PropTech expert Neil Cobbold in speaking out on these issues. 

This follows the recent Queen’s Speech in which the government reiterated its commitment to scrapping Section 21 eviction notices during the next Parliamentary session, as part of a wider reform package for the rental sector.


“Currently the vast majority of tenancies end because the tenant chooses to leave, not because the landlord is evicting. Landlords want tenants to stay in their property long term, and only serve notice as a last resort” says Shamplina.

“The majority of Section 21 notices are issued because a tenant is in rent arrears, or because a landlord wishes to sell or move back into their property. In many cases, landlords could have used Section 8 for rent arrears or anti-social behaviour, but their lack of faith in the associated court process, which is undoubtedly more protracted, is why many always revert to Section 21.”

He adds: “Therefore, abolishing Section 21 will not significantly change the number of evictions, it will simply change the process, which may have knock-on consequences for the number of open court cases and the associated costs for which the tenant will be liable.”.

Shamplina argues that the Section 8 notice and associated grounds will become the norm with landlords who previously wrote off arrears and used Section 21 will potentially now seek those arrears via Section 8, to the disadvantage of the tenant.

“There are various aspects of Section 8 that need considerable revision before Section 21 can be fully abolished. I believe it will need to be a phased ending to allow the courts time to clear the backlog from the last two years and for all grounds to be considered and revised appropriately,” he said. 

“For example, the route for dealing with abandonment cases must be clarified, to prevent unnecessary court cases where the tenant has clearly already left the property.”

Meanwhile Cobbold, managing director of automated payment service PayProp UK, says PropTech has a key role to play in transitioning to a lettings market without Section 21.

Agents and landlords have an opportunity to upgrade their technology given the likely timescale of Section 21 changes - a White Paper, consultation and then legislation mean that change may be well over a year away. 

“Reforming evictions is going to cause some upheaval and there will be a significant bedding-in period. That’s why it’s vitally important that agents have their evidence-gathering and record-keeping processes in place, so they can move as seamlessly as possible from the old way to the new, in which agents and landlords will likely have to rely on a beefed-up version of Section 8.”

He continues: “Comprehensive, automatically generated reporting based on live transactional information can make a real difference when it comes to providing the relevant evidence when eviction is necessary. 

“The burden of proof for agents is going to be higher once Section 21 is abandoned. Having to demonstrate proof of arrears, for example, speaks to the need for robust record keeping and evidence gathering tools.”

The government also plans to reduce the number of cases making it to the courts by bringing in a new ombudsman for private rented sector landlords, helping to ensure disputes can be easily resolved without legal recourse. 

Cobbold says using technology to create an automated record of payments, communications with tenants and other lettings processes will help landlords and agents to provide evidence of their good conduct when referred to the new ombudsman by tenants.

Last week’s Ministry of Justice figures show private landlord eviction claims are now higher than pre-pandemic.

Covering the period of January to March 2022, the figures show there were 6,447 claims by private landlords to evict tenants – three per cent higher than the same period in 2019, before Covid hit. 

Of these, 6,066 were accelerated procedure claims being made as a result of a Section 21 notice – some 63 per cent higher than the last quarter and nearly a third above the same quarter in 2019, before the pandemic.

Overall, there were 3,763 evictions by landlords, an increase by over a third on the previous quarter.

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    All very good points made by Paul Shamplina and, again, nods to the unreliability and/or regional variance in the accessibility to the Courts to administer any final part of the process be it S21 or S8.
    I would suggest that the S8, with all the supporting documentation/evidence, would further burden the creaking Housing Courts. If there were to be an Ombudsmen Service processing S8 actions that was form-filled driven, at least the parameters of consideration would be evened-out and unemotional. All experienced Letting Agents encounter some tenants who are experienced in 'working the system' as it is so vague and subjective despite the old S21 being 'prescriptive' and I am sure we only use the S21 when all reasonable process has failed.

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    Don’t get me wrong I am not in favour of the abolition of section 21 but I don’t fear it as I never use Section 21 and I have evicted over 2000 tenants in the 30 years I have been a HMO landlord most by negotiation but over 350 evictions have been through the courts using grounds 8 and 10 with 100% success. Once you’ve mastered the court system and the court system is not easy and I believe it is too expensive, slow and bureaucratic but it works. Be warned be prepared for the utter contempt a minority of County Court judges show towards landlords and their acceptance of anything a tenant says as the gospel truth but nothing the landlord say is believable and they love to adjourn cases for any petty reason. No wonder the courts are jammed up with cases when it often takes two or three attempts to get a possession order.

    All I believe that will happen if section 21 is abolished is the same number of tenants will be evicted and this will be for nonpayment of rent. As regards the fear that tenants will not get rehoused by the council because they made themselves intentionally homeless by not paying the rent I find this does not happen in my area. All the council say is the rent was unaffordable and this justified the tenants paying NO rent. What will slow down evictions enormously is if councils and other advisors were stop telling tenants not to pay their rent, wait until the bailiffs evict them and once they are evicted they will be rehoused by the council.

    In my area the number of tenants I have to evict has dropped dramatically because my main council, Sandwell MBC introduced “call before you serve” (CB4YS) a mediation service where the council try and resolve issues between tenants and landlords. It works brilliantly. I find once I involve CB4YS the defaulting tenants either leave or pay.

    The abolition of section 21 will I believe create few problems for landlords, will take and away the myth that landlords evict for no reason, give tenants greater security and reveal the enormous scale of rent evasion/dodging.

    Jim Haliburton
    The HMODaddy


    If the landlord did not comply with the deposit rules the 3 times deposit claim or worse could wipe out the section 8 claim unless the possession order was given first. See below. It does say the court 'shall' give the order. Then the monitory computation could be administered after the possession order is given. Now, the landlord has to wait for sufficient arrears to ensure he will win even with a counter claim.

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    Choose a cuckoo land the government have. The landlords don’t want the abolition of the section 21 so who does? Shelter? A solicitor firm veiled in a so called charity status with connections to the highest members of the judiciary. I am referring to the set-up of shelters legal department by a senior judge. Make the process litigational and more jobs for solicitors and shelter. Is it about evictions or is it about money. How did shelter convince the powers that be that the section 21 was ever used on a whim? On a different note. The mandatory part of the section 8 says that if they are two months not paid etc then the court shall make a mandatory possession order. The counter claim can occur before that order is made. When common sense says that the intention or spirit of the rule was to ensure the mandatory possession order was given because of the arrears. I would be ok with the counter claim being dealt with after the possession order is given. The landlord gets his possession orders the tenant gets a fair call on the counter claim. Then the judge cannot abuse the rights of the landlord as if they would do that? And how about an accelerated section 8? If they are two months not paid etc why have a hearing? Nothing to stop the tenant showing he did pay (except he didn’t) and to counterclaim to reduce the CCJ.

  • jeremy clarke

    Last week I attended court on behalf of a landlord for a possession hearing, the first we have had to go through since 2005 as I find that tenants generally leave without too much fuss. We have always used S21 whatever the reason the landlord wanted the tenants out, last year 4 were served by this office, in all other cases the tenants left of their own volition so cases are the minority.
    back to last week, the S21 notice expired 22 February, the tenant had appealed and the court insisted on a sitting. The earliest available after 22nd February was 24th May. The tenant, single mum who moved in with 2 young children 5 years ago had managed to have 3 more kids whilst in the flat, wear & tear was off the scale. The landlord will be returning to the UK later this year and looking at our reports of the condition chose to give notice to try and protect his asset. On arrival at the court, the tenant was accompanied by Citizen's Advice staff and was offered the services of a Shelter interview which was in a private room at the court with a shelter member of staff and shelter retained solicitor. When we sat in front of the judge, shelter asked for a postponement as they felt that the deposit was incorrectly dealt with at the outset, the deposit had been paid by the tenant's father, he denied in the shelter interview having ever received the prescribed information! All paperwork had been submitted to the court obviously so the judge was able to see that it included a copy of the prescribed information signed by the tenant and her father to prove receipt! I had done my job right! Even with this spurious last second appeal possession was given by the judge but deferred for 6 weeks until 5th July. Notice was originally served mid December meaning it has taken 7 months to get to a possession date! Crazy system that needs a complete overhaul!


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