That’s according to analysis of government data by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), which stated that the number of cases brought to courts in England and Wales with a Section 21 notice in the third quarter of 2021 is down by 55 per cent on the same period in 2019.
This is an ongoing trend, stretching beyond the pandemic, with the analysis noting that repossession cases in the courts due to a Section 21 notice had dropped by 50 per cent between 2015 and 2019.
The government has proposed abolishing Section 21 notices as part of a Renters Reform Bill, but it has yet to be brought forward to the House of Commons. Both letting professionals and tenants appear to be split on the potential benefits of scrapping the notices.
The NRLA has previously called for a new system to replace Section 21 notices, which would include “clear and comprehensive grounds” under which landlords could legitimately repossess properties, as well as a faster process. It argued that currently it takes an average of almost 59 weeks for a landlord to actually repossess a property.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, suggested that these figures would “dispel the myth” that landlords look for ways to kick out their tenants with no reason.
He added: “Whilst we condemn any landlord who abuses the system, it is vital to remember that the vast majority of tenants and landlords enjoy a good relationship.”
Overall possession numbers rising
While the use of Section 21 notices has dropped, the figures from the Ministry of Justice show that there has nonetheless been a striking increase in landlord possessions of late.
Evictions were initially banned in March last year as a result of the pandemic, and while they were allowed again from September 2020, there then followed a ban on bailiff-enforced evictions as cases rose once more.
According to the figures, there were 4,853 repossessions by landlords between July and September, more than three times the 1,582 repossessions carried out in the previous quarter.
Nonetheless, this remains significantly below the typical possession figures for this time of year. In 2019 there were 7,453 landlord possessions in this period, for example.