Government announces plans to scrap section 21 possession claims – ‘end of an era’
Published on 16/04/2019
The rules regarding section 21 claims have been successively tightened over time making it difficult and on occasions impossible for landlords to use the procedure if they have failed to comply with their statutory obligations.
The Government has now taken things to their natural conclusion and announced plans on Monday 15th April 2019 to ban section 21 notices (see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-end-to-unfair-evictions). If implemented it will bring to an end to landlords obtaining a possession order without a court hearing. At the same time the Government has indicated it intends to amend the ‘Section 8’ eviction process to take the place of section 21 claims. They intend to do this by:
1. Amending the grounds for possession to include situations where the landlord wishes to regain their property so that they can sell it or move into it.
2. Expediting the court process so that landlords are able to ‘swiftly and smoothly regain their property’.
The changes will not take place for quite some time yet. The Government will first begin the consultation process with landlords and tenants. Whether the improvements to the section 8 eviction process effectively replace the section 21 notice or result in landlords having to wait significantly longer remains to be seen. One of the main gripes with the current section 8 process is just how long it takes to get before a judge and then how long it takes after obtaining a possession order for a bailiff to attend the property and enforce the eviction.
However, one benefit of making a standard claim which is listed for a court hearing, something which can be done even now, is that you can claim a money judgment for rent arrears at the same time as seeking possession, which is not available under the accelerated procedure for section 21. Another is that you avoid the potential of your section 21 notice being deemed invalid by potential statutory landlord failures and possession denied until you commence fresh proceedings with any failures corrected.