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Housing Courts the best way to counter threat of S21 removal - claim

Propertymark is urging the Sunak government to introduce specialist housing courts with expert Judges who can expedite cases and create a consistent standard of judgments. 

This would reduce the pressure on County Courts, improve access for both landlords and tenants and speed up the processing of claims, says the trade body.

Research on the current system from Citizens Advice found just 23 per cent of tenants feel confident applying to court should they encountered issues: 54 per cent said they did not take a claim to court because of the complexity of the process and a similar number said they were put off by the length of time involved.


In recent days Housing Secretary Michael Gove has again thrown the subject of Section 21 into the political spotlight by stating no-fault evictions will be outlawed across England by the next general election. Within the Renters Reform Bill, the proposal to remove Section 21 has proven both complicated and a subject that has lacked the defined clarity which is needed.

Back in November, just before the bill was to gain its second reading within parliament, an unexpected decision was made to halt progress with the proposal to remove Section 21 from the wider legislation. At the time it was stated this was to be put on hold until court reform could be implemented to help mitigate the impact the removal of Section 21 might have.

Propertymark has long campaigned for the introduction of a housing court system to handle any negative impacts regarding the removal of Section 21 from the law. These suggestions have included creating a dedicated court system that is adequately resourced to deal with the subject of evictions and other housing-related matters.

If Section 21 were to be abolished by the time of a general election, as Gove suggests, Propertymark is keen to see sensible reform to Section 8 legislation.

Otherwise it fears there is a danger it may cause major issues with housing supply across the private rented sector. Any changes to the current legislation must allow provision for landlords and tenants to be treated fairly and with respect and must strike a fair balance.

This view is also shared by the House of Commons Levelling Up. Housing and Communities Committee. 

In February 2023, the Committee published its report on its inquiry into the Renters Reform White Paper, which made reference to Propertymark’s submission on several occasions. The cross-party Committee concluded that the biggest obstacle to reforming Section 21 was the “capacity of the courts” and that the “best way to improve the housing court system is to establish a specialist housing court”. 

Propertymark chief executive Nathan Emerson states: “The removal of Section 21 is a complex issue for which there needs to be full consideration of all involved. Propertymark is keen to see a dedicated and specialist housing court within the wider system that will be fully geared to deliver on its objectives before any such change. Failing to address the capacity of the courts could lead to substantially longer waiting periods for housing issues to be addressed. All new alternatives must be fully stress tested and be fit for purpose from day one of any proposed changes taking effect."

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    And expect the judicial panels to all be political appointees ... just so you'll know what to expect.


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