The survey was conducted by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) in May and June following the government’s proposal in April to scrap Section 21. In the survey, 96 per cent of private landlords described the notice as “important” to their business.
The RLA has written to justice secretary, Robert Buckland MP, advising the government to retain Section 21 saying it will “drive landlords out of the sector” and make it harder to house tenants.
The association said if the notice is to be removed, it should only be done once an alternative was “fit for purpose”. The RLA also said its removal would lead to increasing delays in court.
Furthermore, the introduction of a low cost, specialist Housing Court with a privatised bailiff service was proposed by the association.
Landlords rely on Section 21
It was found that private landlords were five times more likely to use Section 21 than Section 8, despite the latter intended to be used where the tenant is unreliable or disruptive.
Where they have been forced to use Section 21, poor tenant behaviour is usually the catalyst; 83 per cent of those who used Section 21 exclusively have done so because of rent arrears. Over half of all landlords who use Section 21 have used it to regain possession from anti-social tenants.
Just under half of landlords said they would withdraw from the private rented sector if the notice was removed, regardless of any compensatory reforms. However, a little over half of respondents would be willing to continue operating in the sector if the government provided “substantial changes” to Section 8 and introduced a specialist Housing Court, which 90.8 per cent of respondents said they would be in favour of.
Additionally, 98 per cent of respondents want to see Section 8 repossessions moved to the paper based accelerated process for rent arrears.
Should Section 21 be removed, 84 per cent of landlords would be likely to become more restrictive in who they provide homes to which the RLA predicts would mostly impact on low income, vulnerable tenants.
David Smith, policy director for the RLA, said: “Ministers are proposing some of the most far reaching changes the private rented sector has ever seen. If the new government decides it wants to proceed with these it is vital that significant and bold reforms are made to the court system.
“With landlords and tenants failing to secure justice in a timely fashion when things do go wrong, anything other than wholesale changes with proper funding to support it will lead to chaos.”