Despite speculation to the contrary, Prime Minister Liz Truss has confirmed that the Government intends to go ahead with its commitment to abolish section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions.
During Prime Minister’s Questions this week, she as asked by Labour MP Graham Stringeron whether she could ‘reassure the 11m private renters in the country that she will carry out the commitment to get rid of no-fault evictions?’
Truss did not equivocate. ‘I can’, she said.
The question had been prompted by reports in The Times newspaper that the Government was considering scrapping plans to end Section 21. These had been taken seriously enough to elicit a response from the National Residential Landlords Association.
Whatever the Government’s plans, a wide range of reforms are desperately needed to support the sector, said its chief executive, Ben Beadle.
‘The supply crisis in the sector must be addressed urgently, while much more needs to be done to root out criminal and rogue landlords. Likewise vulnerable tenants can and should be better supported by unfreezing housing benefit rates.
‘The NRLA will continue to work with all parties to ensure that reforms are fair and workable and command the support of tenants and responsible landlords’.
However, doing away with section 21 evictions remains controversial and may well, said Gavin Richardson, managing director of buy to let broker Mortgages for Business, have unintended consequences.
‘Abolishing Section 21 evictions will harm the most vulnerable tenants and could well increase homelessness’, he said.
‘In the short-term, without the option of being able to evict bad tenants, landlords will be left with no alternative than to become more circumspect about the tenants they accept. It will be in their best interests to favour those with good jobs and clean credit histories. These potential tenants are, of course, the people most likely to be able to afford a mortgage.
‘People on lower incomes and those with less-than-perfect credit profiles will find it much harder to secure affordable housing. With the current direction of the economy, the change will make the situation of poorer tenants more precarious.
‘Unless the Government suddenly provides millions of social homes overnight, these people will have nowhere to go when landlords inevitably refuse their applications.
‘In the medium-term, the abolition of Section 21 will lead to a mass-exodus of private landlords from the sector. I can promise the Government that this is on the cards — alongside rapidly rising mortgage interest rates, the abolition of section 21 is the primary concern of almost every landlord we’ve spoken to this year’.