Using Section 21 to evict a tenant is no longer the fastest way for a landlord needing to possess a property, an eviction specialist claims.
Landlord Action says that the Section 21 ‘accelerated’ process is increasingly challenging to use and not always quicker than other methods.
Ministry of Justice data shows there were almost 5,000 fewer Section 21 cases in 2017 than in 2016, down 14% at 29,611.
According to the MoJ, in October to December 2017, accelerated landlord possession cases, where there is no court hearing, took 7.3 weeks to progress from claim to order, compared with standard private landlord cases, where a hearing takes place to consider each side, which took 8.2 weeks.
However, once a landlord has an eviction order, they still need to obtain a possession warrant to legally complete the eviction and repossess the property with a county court bailiff. This seems to be taking longer.
From claim to possession warrant, accelerated and private landlord cases took 15.9 and 14.4 weeks respectively, and from claim to repossession by county court bailiff, accelerated cases took on average 23.1 weeks, while private landlords took 21.8 weeks.
Paul Shamplina, of Landlord Action, said: “In a number of recent cases, we’ve found that landlords have not provided tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate and a Gas Safety Certificate before the tenancy began, or they did not protect their tenant’s deposit, all of which are legal requirements in order to serve a Section 21 notice.
“By the time landlords come to us, the relationship with the tenant has usually broken down, making it harder to gain access to the property and deal with these issues, meaning the landlord can’t use a Section 21.
“The term ‘accelerated’ is not really an appropriate name for this procedure – as the statistics show, it is not actually quicker any more.
“Despite this, I predict we will see another rise in use of the accelerated possession procedure over the next couple of years as more landlords are forced to sell off properties off the back of rising interest rates and increased tax liabilities.”