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Section 21 Scrapping Delayed

Additional information has surfaced regarding a potential delay in the enforcement of Section 21 eviction powers. The elimination of Section 21 was a prominent feature of the Renters Reform Bill, scheduled for its Second Reading in the House of Commons today.

Recent developments reveal that Section 21 is still slated for removal, albeit contingent on the enhancement of court procedures for legitimate possession cases. The government has now outlined the specifics of these anticipated improvements, which seem to be rather substantial and may require a significant amount of time to implement.

The proposed improvements encompass several key areas, such as digitising court processes to simplify them for landlords, exploring the prioritisation of specific cases, including those involving antisocial behavior, enhancing the recruitment and retention of bailiffs, streamlining administrative tasks for bailiffs to focus on possession enforcement, and offering early legal counsel and improved guidance to tenants to assist them in finding suitable housing solutions.

Moreover, the government expresses its intent to fortify mediation and dispute resolution as a means for landlords to resolve issues without resorting to the courts, “embed this as a member service of the new Ombudsman”, which all landlords, in addition to professional property agents, will be required to join.

The government firmly rejects the proposal for a dedicated housing court, asserting that the costs outweigh the benefits. Instead, it believes that allocating resources to enhance existing court capacity and procedures would be more effective.

These details emerge as a response from the government to a report from the House of Commons Housing Select Committee. The timing of this response, so close to the Second Reading, may be perceived as an attempt to address the growing opposition to the Bill from the property industry, landlords, and certain politicians.

In a particularly clear statement within the response, the government confirms that it “will not take place until we judge sufficient progress has been made to improve the courts.”

It continues: “That means we will not proceed with the abolition of section 21, until reforms to the justice system are in place.”



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