How No Section 21 Notices could increase homelessness

Eviction specialist firm, Landlord Action are warning that scrapping Section 21 notices could severely impact tenants because it could lead to a rise in homelessness, writes David Lawrenson of www.LettingFocus.com.

How Scrapping Section 21 Notices Could Increase homelessness

As we have written here before, a consultation is currently underway on the Government’s plans to scrap Section 21 and expand Section 8 eviction grounds to compensate.

But the plans could lead to a rise in homelessness across the country.

Landlord Action say that half the Section 21 cases they handle come about from tenants wanting to be rehoused by their Council, which would be significantly more complex under any reforms.

Section 21 is Faster

Paul Shamplina of Landlord Action said that landlords often use Section 21 rather than Section 8 to evict tenants with rent arrears as it is quicker and does not require or result in a county court judgement (CCJ). He’s right.

Therefore, without Section 21, and under Section 8 instead, a large number of tenants will get a CCJ and ultimately become homeless, as councils are not obliged to re-home people with rent arrears judgements.

Also, a CCJs would badly hit a tenant’s credit rating, which will make it harder, if not impossible, for them to pass referencing in the future – whether that’s for social housing or back in the private rented sector.

As so many landlords currently use the (no- court hearing) Section 21, Shamplina is also right to note that scrapping it will inevitably double the number of Section 8 hearings, resulting in more court time and a need for more judges.

Rise in Homelessness Not the Only Risk

As well as a rise in homelessness, there will be many other unintended consequences as a result of the abolition of Section 21. We have written already at these blog posts about how more vulnerable and potentially riskier tenants will struggle to find accommodation as landlords become more selective. Also, there could be a sudden big rise in Section 21 claims as landlords feel increasingly powerless and opt to exit the market before any new changes are bought in.

Scotland Experience

It would be interesting to find out whether there has been an increase in homelessness attributable to ending section 21 in Scotland, where it was abandoned 2 years ago. I’m waiting for a response from the Scottish Landlords Association and I will update this blog post when I get that.

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