Abolition of Section 21 Housing Act 1988 Delayed

On 23 October 2023, Parliament debated the Renters' Reform Bill at second reading.

It has been confirmed that section 21 will not be abolished until reforms to the efficiency of the Court system for taking possession have been achieved. Such reforms include migrating a larger proportion of the process to an online model, and prioritising the most serious claims such as those founded on anti-social behaviour.

The Government's response to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee on Reforming the Private Rented Sector Committee’s Fifth Report of Session 2022-23, published on 20 October 2023, states, "we will not proceed with the abolition of section 21, until reforms to the justice system are in place.

The target areas for improvements include:

  • digitising more of the court process to make it simpler and easier for landlords to use;
  • exploring the prioritisation of certain cases, including antisocial behaviour;
  • improving bailiff recruitment and retention and reducing administrative tasks so bailiffs can prioritise possession enforcement; and
  • providing early legal advice and better signposting for tenants, including to help them find a housing solution that meets their needs."

The likelihood of the statutory provision being abolished before the end of this Parliament therefore appears vanishingly small.

We will provide further coverage of the ongoing debate as it unfolds.

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