Additional information has surfaced, shedding light on a temporary delay in implementing Section 21 eviction powers.The removal of Section 21 was a key element of the Renters Reform Bill, currently undergoing its Second Reading in the House of Commons.
Recent developments reveal that Section 21 will indeed be phased out but with a condition – it will only happen once substantial enhancements are made to the court procedures for handling valid possession cases.The government has outlined the nature of these improvements, and they seem to be comprehensive changes that may require a significant amount of time to implement.
The government is taking several steps to streamline the court process, making it more landlord-friendly. This includes digitalization for simplicity and ease, prioritizing specific cases like antisocial behavior, enhancing bailiff recruitment and retention, and reducing administrative burdens for bailiffs to focus on possession enforcement. Additionally, early legal advice and better guidance for tenants are being provided to help them find suitable housing solutions.
Mediation and dispute resolution are also being reinforced as alternatives to court action, with plans to incorporate them into the services offered by the new Ombudsman, a requirement for all landlords and professional property agents. The government has declined the proposal for a dedicated housing court, emphasizing that its costs would not justify the benefits. Instead, the government is focusing on enhancing the current court capacity and processes, deeming it a more effective approach.
These decisions were made in response to a report from the House of Commons Housing Select Committee. The release of this response just before the Second Reading may be seen as an attempt to address the mounting opposition to the Bill, particularly from the property industry, landlords, and certain politicians.
In straightforward terms, the government has confirmed that any new method for property repossessions won’t be put into action until they see substantial improvements in the court system.
This implies that the abolition of section 21 will be on hold until these justice system reforms are in effect.Moreover, the government has committed to establishing a new ground for property repossession, specifically tailored to safeguard the annual rhythm of the student housing market.
They have indicated their intention to create a provision for possession that accommodates the short-term tenancies typical in the student housing sector. This move is designed to allow new students to secure housing well in advance, providing them with the assurance of accommodation for the following year.
Today, the Second Reading of the Renters Reform Bill is scheduled to take place in the House of Commons.
For the full, extensive letter from the government to the Select Committee, it’s worth noting that the recommendations originate from the committee, which does not set policy, while the responses come from the government.