Section 21: Government accused of “Dickensian” view of buy to let

The scrapping of Section 21, as proposed by the government, shows that Whitehall has “a Dickensian view” of the buy to let sector according to a top lawyer.

Paul Henson, a partner in the real estate litigation team at Collyer Bristow LLP, says: “The government has a Dickensian view of private landlords offering sub-standard homes for extortionate rents. Whilst the market is far from perfect, this view is outdated. Private landlords want tenants in their homes, and most tenancies are in fact ended by the tenants themselves.”

He says he awaits details of the amendments to Section 8, as pledged by the government when it made its shock Section 21 announcement at the start of this week.

The government has committed to making the court process for landlords to repossess their homes faster and easier than now, although some critics have suggested this may be difficult to achieve.

“Government reform must focus both on the needs of the tenant and the landlord.  Any reform that makes the market less desirable for private and institutional landlords could leave tenants in a much weaker position in the longer run” says Henson.

However, he does say that the recent growth in Build To Rent – seen by some as a rival to traditional buy to let – is a desirable development.

“The demand for rented homes continues to grow, particularly in London and the South East. The market is attracting considerable investment from financial institutions with smart and professional build to rent offers. This professionalisation of the rental market is needed and desirable” insists Henson.

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