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Potential Loophole Identified in Proposed Scrapping of Section 21 Evictions

Experts have highlighted a potential loophole in the Renters (Reform) Bill that could lead to a patchwork enforcement of Section 21 eviction notices, depending on the type of tenancy.

Detailed Analysis Reveals Inconsistencies
Oli Sherlock, Managing Director of Insurance at Goodlord, and Ryan Heaven, a solicitor at Dutton Gregory Solicitors, have pointed out a crucial detail in the Renters (Reform) Bill after a thorough analysis. During a recent webinar, they discussed that despite the housing secretary’s assurance that Section 21 would be banned before the next General Election, the reality could be quite different. “A lot of people place emphasis on Michael Gove stating that section 21 would be ‘outlawed’ before the election, but when you examine the Bill closer this is not what will happen,” Heaven explained. He noted that depending on when the election occurs, some landlords might still be able to serve Section 21 notices.

Variations Across Tenancy Types
The bill, once passed, will create three categories of tenancies, each with different rules regarding Section 21 notices:

  1. New tenancies created after the bill’s implementation will not allow for Section 21 evictions.
  2. Fixed-term tenancies that become periodic after the bill’s implementation will permit Section 21 notices until they transition to periodic tenancies.
  3. Existing periodic tenancies at the time the bill is implemented will allow Section 21 notices until an ‘extended implementation date’ determined after a governmental review of the court system.

Concerns Over Fragmented Implementation
Sherlock expressed concerns about the fragmented implementation process outlined in the bill: “As the Bill currently stands, it seems that the apparent promise to delay the scrapping of Section 21 to allow for court reform is not what it seems.” He pointed out that the market could face a situation where some tenancies permit Section 21 evictions, others do not, and yet more could fall into either category depending on how tenancy renewals are handled. He added, “This would all be taking place alongside an investigation into the courts, which currently has no confirmed timeline or identifiable metrics for success.”

The revelations by Sherlock and Heaven suggest that the proposed changes to Section 21 could result in significant confusion and inconsistency in how eviction rules are applied, potentially complicating the landscape for tenants and landlords alike.