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Scrapping Section 21 is a nuisance for landlords and backfires on Gove

According to a new Propertymark survey, landlords are particularly concerned about the removal of Section 21 notifications and the end of fixed-term rentals.

According to the trade body's most recent study, 72% of landlords were concerned about the elimination of Section 21 notices, while 69% were concerned about the removal of fixed-term rentals.

Defined term tenancies, including assured and assured shorthold rentals, will be phased out in favour of periodic tenancies with no defined expiry date under the Renters Reform Bill. The Bill will also repeal section 21 'no fault' evictions.

michael gove section 21

Approximately one-fifth (18%) of landlords agreed that they understood the Renters Reform Bill, whereas only 3% had read the guidance surrounding the Act.

52% of landlords surveyed disagreed that the Bill's accompanying instruction was enough, emphasising the importance of landlords utilising a professional letting agent to handle future changes.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark, says:  “Propertymark has long argued that a fixed term tenancy allows security of tenure for the tenant and a guarantee of rent payments for the landlord. The Renters Reform Bill will only be workable in practice if it addresses the on the ground challenges, we know affect landlords. 

“Furthermore, it is imperative that landlords are aware of the upcoming legislation and are given the adequate guidance and support to deliver a high level of service for tenants. Propertymark agents have a key role to play in the implementation of the legislation.”

Meanwhile, Housing Secretary Michael Gove is criticised for his mishandling of the termination of Section 21 in a recent issue of the current affairs publication The Spectator.

Writer and property expert Ross Clark says in the magazine: “This would essentially return tenancy law pretty well back to where it was in the 1980s, when many people with spare properties were loathe to let them out for fear they would be unable to take back possession when they needed to. While the rental market has always had its Rachmans, happy to turn out a family of house and home on a whim, there are very genuine reasons why people might want a property back after, say, 12 months.”

According to Clark, Gove's measures are having the unintended consequence of favouring renters and prospective homeowners over landlords.

He continues in his Spectator piece: “Gove has decided to side with frustrated would-be homeowners. But there is another group with whom you might expect the government to have a little more sympathy: private pensioners. 

“If, unlike Gove, you do not face the prospect of a feather-bedded retirement courtesy of a gold-plated pension underwritten by the taxpayer, you are forced to make other provisions. The miserable performance of the UK stock market has pushed many people of quite modest means into buy-to-let. 

“These make up a large proportion of the landlords on whom Gove has declared war. He cannot expect a lot of thanks for this at the ballot box.”   


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