Sledgehammer to crack nut – abolition of Section 21 Notices


Andrew Shirley, CLA Chief surveyor provides an insight on what the abolition of Section 21 notices of the Housing Act will mean for landlords.

Ellie Wood

We have had two years of parliamentary paralysis over Brexit, particularly over the last year we have seen key civil servants from all departments being sucked into “no-deal planning”. Suddenly after MPs disappear on their Easter holidays we have an announcement of a new consultation, where the outcome seems to have already been decided, that will curtail the ability of landlords to get houses let under Assured Shorthold Tenancies, back. 

Section 21 notices have been dubbed the “no fault” notices where, it is alleged, the tenant can be thrown out with short notice. This fails to reflect that tenants have security of tenure for the length of the agreed tenancy and that any landlord will do everything he can to retain a good tenant as the costs of void periods to landlords are great.

The reality is that in rural areas the average residential tenancy exceeds eight years, compared with the urban figure of less than three, and tenants in the countryside enjoy a higher level of satisfaction and a greater sense of community – something we all strive to achieve

However, landlords do need the ability to terminate tenancies, they may need to carry out refurbishment, house employees, provide housing for someone in greater need, match the type of house to the needs of an occupier, or they might need to sell the house.  These notices allow them to do this – the alternative is section eight, which is much more limited, and requires a court judgement which is costly and time consuming.

The CLA will be speaking to policy officials, MPs and other organisations on the issue over the coming weeks and months to ensure that the government does not use a sledgehammer to crack the wrong nut!