Government makes Section 21 evictions more difficult

A quietly-introduced change to the form landlords must fill in before accelerated possession proceedings can move forward means the time and effort needed to evict via a Section 21 notice is now on a par with Section 8, LandlordZONE can reveal.

New eviction requirements for landlords introduced by the government earlier this month have removed the advantages previously given to landlords when applying for an accelerated possession procedure eviction.

Until the 6th April when the change was made without fanfare, landlords could evict tenants via a Section 21 notice if the matter was uncontested and they were not claiming for rent arrears with relatively little difficulty.

But the government has published an updated N5B form, which is the court document used for issuing non accelerated possession claims.

Lengthened
It has been lengthened significantly and now requires landlords to fill in a raft of extra information before the eviction process can proceed.

“Basically, the Section 21 process was supposed to be quick and easy hence the ‘accelerated procedure’ name,” says Tim Frome, Legal Director of Landlord Action

“Through legislative and administrative amends like this, it is now as time consuming to evict someone through a Section 21 as a Section 8 claim, a fact that many landlords will not find out until after the Coronavirus crisis eases and they try to start eviction proceedings once more.”

This means the government has, through the court process, effectively ‘banned’ Section 21 notice evictions by placing them on a par with Section 8 ones, a fact that many landlords will not find out until after the Coronavirus crisis and they start eviction proceedings once more.

Changes to the N5B form include asking landlords to provide the following information:

  • The current tenancy agreement and copies of ALL previous ones.
  • Extra information about the tenancy deposit.
  • Confirmation that there have been no Tenant Fees Act breaches during the tenant.
  • All EPCs and annual gas safety certificates.
  • Confirmation that first gas safety certificate was provided to the tenant ‘before the tenancy began’.

“This last point [about gas safety] is particularly controversial because a simple admin error can mean the landlord cannot use a Section 21 notice. The matter is due to be decided by the Court of Appeal with a decision expected shortly,” says Tim Frome.

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