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Government debates scrapping Section 21 – what does it mean for landlords?

Campaigners have long called for the government to scrap Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, which allows landlords to evict tenants without cause. While this would be a positive step for private renters, the debate has been alarming to some landlords.

What is Section 21?

Section 21 allows landlords to take back their property after giving two months' notice. While landlord groups have credited Section 21 with making the industry attractive to investors, housing bodies have claimed that it is the single biggest cause of homelessness. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Cambridge Centre for Housing Planning and Research, eight out of ten evictions fall under the Section 21 umbrella.

Why scrap Section 21?

The Labour Party has been particularly vocal in its desire to scrap Section 21, with Karen Buck MP speaking out about it last year. The private rental market is very different now to 30 years ago, when the act was introduced, and with more people renting privately it's important to safeguard the wellbeing of tenants. If the Government in England and Wales ends Section 21, then it will follow in the footsteps of the Scottish parliament, which scrapped its version of the legislation last year.

Can you still evict tenants without Section 21?

The Government eliminating Section 21 will not end landlords' ability to remove problematic tenants from their properties. It simply means they will need a reason to evict them. For example, if your tenant is in rent arrears, it would still be possible to ask them to leave using a Section 8 eviction notice. Section 8 evictions also apply to tenants who are involved in criminal behaviour or have broken the terms of the tenancy agreement you asked them to sign at the start of their stay.

Sometimes tricky tenants refuse to leave the property – in cases like this, you may find it helpful to engage Enforcement Agents to help. Dukes can help to deliver the eviction warrant and assist with collecting any outstanding rent. For more information on how we can help, get in touch with Duke's Bailiffs.

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