In October 2018, it was reported that Croydon Council were the first local authority to back the scrapping of Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 - see here.
Section 21 enables a landlord to seek possession of their property, let on an assured shorthold tenancy without any fault on the part of the tenant.
October also saw further parts of the Deregulation Act 2015 coming into force to protect all assured shorthold tenants against unfair and retaliatory evictions.
A Section 21 (s21) notice served in response to a genuine complaint about the condition of the property may be found by the Court to be invalid. Further, if a landlord fails to provide certain information to the tenant at the commencement of the tenancy, including the How to Rent guidance, Gas Safety and Energy Performance Certificates and Prescribed information about any deposit taken this is also likely to invalidate the s21 notice.
Some landlords will therefore be of the view that there are sufficient safeguards in place to avoid unfair and retaliatory evictions and will maintain that they should be entitled to use the accelerated possession procedure to avoid a lengthy court process. On the other hand, landlords can seek possession, using the Section 8 procedure where an assured shorthold tenant is in breach of the tenancy and some will say that this is sufficient to ensure that they can recover possession of their property should the need arise.
At its party conference this year, Labour said that if it comes to power it will scrap Section 21 and on 6 December 2018 Karen Buck MP is sponsoring a debate at Westminster on the use of s21.
So, to scrap or not to scrap s21? That is the question and we may have an answer in the near future...
On 6 December 2018, there will be a Westminster Hall debate on the Use of section 21 evictions in the private rented sector. The debate is scheduled to start at 1.30pm and the Member sponsoring this debate is Karen Buck MP.