The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire, has announced plans to abolish Section 21 Notices. This could have far-reaching consequences for landlords wanting to recover possession of their properties.
As most landlords know, Section 21 is the route by which a tenant can be evicted without having to give a reason – the ‘no-fault’ Notice. It is most commonly used where a landlord wants to sell their property.
Mr Brokenshire’s press release states:
“By abolishing these kinds of evictions, every single person living in the private rented sector will be empowered to make the right housing choice for themselves – not have it made for them. And this will be balanced by ensuring responsible landlords can get their property back where they have proper reason to do so.”
However, a consultation will need to take place before any legislation is drafted:
“As part of a complete overhaul of the sector, the government has outlined plans to consult on new legislation to abolish Section 21 evictions – so called ‘no-fault’ evictions. This will bring an end to private landlords uprooting tenants from their homes with as little as eight weeks’ notice after the fixed-term contract has come to an end.”
If Section 21 is abolished, that will only leave landlords with the option of seeking possession on the basis of a Section 8 Notice. A Section 8 Notice can only be served and relied upon where a tenant has breached the terms of the tenancy agreement in some way: most commonly, by having accrued rent arrears. There are also plans to review the Section 8 procedure:
“Under the proposals, landlords will have to provide a concrete, evidenced reason already specified in law for bringing tenancies to an end, a marked step-change from the current rules which allow landlords to evict tenants at any time after the fixed-term contract has come to an end, and without specifying a reason.”
“And to ensure responsible landlords have confidence they will be able to end tenancies where they have legitimate reason to do so, Ministers will amend the Section 8 eviction process, so property owners are able to regain their home should they wish to sell it or move into it.”
“Court processes will also be expedited so landlords are able to swiftly and smoothly regain their property in the rare event of tenants falling into rent arrears or damaging the property – meaning landlords have the security of knowing disputes will be resolved quickly.”
“Ministers will also work with other types of housing providers outside of the private rented sector who use these powers and use the consultation to make sure the new system works effectively.”
If and when these changes are implemented, it will be much harder for landlords to recover possession of their properties – especially where the tenant has not breached the terms of the tenancy agreement.
If you are looking to evict a problem tenant, you should take action sooner rather than later. Please contact our landlord and tenant expert, Liam Kreibich on 01332 225207 or get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your options.