On 20th October 2023, the Government made it clear that the abolition of Section 21 evictions will not happen until a new and improved court process is introduced and the ban will not be included in the upcoming Renters Reform Bill.
Is Section 21 still being scrapped? What did the Government say?
Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions currently, and controversially, allow landlords to evict their tenants without needing to give a reason for the repossession.
They were first set to be scrapped as part of the Renters Reform Bill, confirmed when the first draft of the bill was released in May of this year.
However, the Government has now made it clear that Section 21 evictions will not be banned as soon as we thought. Whilst it is still proposed that Section 21 evictions will be scrapped at some time in the future, there is no imminent risk to landlords looking to seek possession of their properties in this way. There is currently no timeline as to when this will happen.
Why has the Section 21 ban been pushed back?
The banning of Section 21 evictions has been delayed until improvements can be made to the court system to expedite Section 8 possession claims where there are valid fault-based grounds to take such action. The current Section 8 grounds will be extended to fill the gap left by the abolition of Section 21’s.
At present, it can take over 6 months for courts to process section 8 eviction claims; which is far too long. As a result, many landlords are leaving the market and renters are struggling to find housing.
The Government will try to make the eviction application process more digital in an attempt to make things easier and quicker for landlords looking to take possession.
With the way that the process is currently set out, it would be too difficult for the Courts to take on a surge of eviction orders under Section 8, when Section 21 evictions are abolished.
Courts will also prioritise certain cases such as anti-social behaviour, to ensure that cases where evictions are most needed are carried out.
So, can I still evict a tenant using Section 21?
Yes, you can still evict a tenant via Section 21 at the moment; meaning you won’t need to provide a reason or rely on any grounds to retake possession.
However, as we mentioned, the Court pipeline for eviction cases is quite lengthy.