Section 21 ban to be delayed until court system is assessed

The Renters Reform Bill will be brought to the House of Commons after Easter – while alterations will include a delay to the Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction ban.

The ban will be delayed until the justice secretary assesses the readiness of the court system to deal with repossession claim, and publishes the findings.

As it stands the Section 8 eviction process, where you have to give a reason to turf a tenant out, is riddled with problems, owing to delays in the court system as well as a shortage of court-appointed bailiffs, which means it can take the best part of a year to get rid of a problem tenant.

Jacob Young, levelling up minister, sent a letter to Conservative MPs, saying the bill “must strike the balance between delivering security for tenants and fairness for landlords”.

The bill’s progress through parliament has been slow, as it was first introduced in May last year, but around 50 Tory MPs called for changes, saying it could result in landlords selling up, reducing the UK’s ever-dwindling supply of rental stock.

Another amendment to the bill is designed to prevent tenants from ending a rental contract in the first six months. As it stands the bill allows renters to end a tenancy with two months’ notice at any point.

Meanwhile, another change will make it so all types of student housing will be covered by the current ground for possession, to maintain the annual cycle of the student market.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “All the rumour, speculation and off-the record briefings about the future of the Bill has caused a huge amount of concern and uncertainty for tenants and responsible landlords.

“The government has a mandate to end section 21 repossessions. Our focus has been on ensuring that the replacement system works, and is fair, to both tenants and responsible landlords. The changes being proposed would achieve this balance.

“Ministers now need to crack on to ensure the Bill can proceed with the scrutiny it deserves.

“The lack of progress and uncertainty about the future is destabilising and damaging for those living and working in the private-rented sector. It is time to bring this to an end.”