A stay of execution for Section 21 notices – Delays to Renters (Reform) Bill

Author: Richard Pulford

Associate Solicitor (Property Disputes), Boyes Turner

Richard Pulford discusses the stay of execution for section 21 notices and looks at the most recent delays to the implementation of the Renters Reform Bill.

Renters (Reform) Bill update

Much has been written about the upcoming Renters (Reform) Bill over the last year or so which is understandable with such a wide-ranging number of topics to cover. One of the reasons is that many lawyers were killing time until we had something more concrete to report on. What a new housing court would look like in practice, what changes may be required to make the bill workable, and mainly when this is all going to come into force? When you are talking about a hypothetical date, it is difficult to advise anyone of the urgency. We know it is coming in at some point, due to support from all major political parties, but were we talking 6 months? 1 year? 10 years?

We now have a little more clarity, particularly on the abolition of section 21 notices, and the answer is…. not yet. Shame on us for assuming there may be something more concrete than that. Notwithstanding the lack of a specific timetable, we do have a much better idea of the general process that will be followed before the reforms are in place. These mainly involve having a justice system updated, allowing it to:

  • Digest more of the court process to make it simpler and easier for landlords to use;
  • Explore prioritising certain types of cases, including antisocial behaviour;
  • Improve bailiff recruitment;
  • Provide early advice and signposting for tenants;
  • Improve the mediation and dispute resolution process.

Justice reform before implementation of an industry defining piece of legislation makes complete sense. The courts in their current form are simply not fit for purpose with the influx of the types of cases that invariably will be made when the ‘no fault’ notice option has been eliminated and every case would involve at least one hearing. You do have to wonder, given that this would have been news to no-one when first promised in the Tory manifesto in 2019, why it has taken so long to come to this realisation. Reforms to the court system would mean that abolition of section 21 is years in the future rather than months.

Section 21 notices continue

Ultimately, what this means is business as usual for the time being. Section 21 notices are still, and will continue to be, the norm. As such, this is a reminder to make sure these are all served correctly, of which our guide on how to serve a section 21 notice can be referred to. It is worth also noting a recent update to the rules since our article on the topic recommending the service of the template ‘Notes for form 6A’ with the section 21 and so keeping up with developments on the topic remains as important as it always has been. As we set out in our article on section 21 notices, it is better to be overly cautious when serving than to realise after the fact that there was an eminently avoidable risk that is now present.

The Section 21 notice is not going anywhere just yet.

[For advice about serving Section 21 notices see our previous article: How to serve a section 21 notice]

When giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, Boyes Turner cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems it is recommended that professional advice be sought.

About Boyes Turner

Boyes Turner are a regional UK law firm with an impressive international reach. The expertise of their teams is considerable, spanning the corporate world, technology and private clients. Richard Pulford is an Associate in the firm’s Property Disputes team with over 10 years of experience in property law. He advises on all elements of residential and commercial property matters. (rpulford@boyesturner.com)

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