With 4 million households living in the private rented sector, equivalent to 11 million people, the government are planning overhauls to ‘make the housing market fit for the 21st Century.’
Ministers have outlined plans to consult on section 21 (so-called ‘no fault evictions), with the aim to abolish the process. Under the proposals, landlords will have to have a good reason to remove someone from their property, providing ‘concrete, evidenced reason already specified in law.’
It’s unclear when any changes would come into effect.
What is Section 21?
Section 21 the Housing Act 1988 sets out the legal process to evict tenants after their fixed term tenancy has ended.
Tenants must be given at least 2 months’ notice to vacate the property. You don’t need to cite a reason for terminating the tenancy.
Can tenants still be evicted?
To evict a tenant, without section 21, you would have to issue a section 8 notice of possession.
Unlike section 21, a section 8 notice can only be issued if a tenant has breached the terms of their tenancy agreement or conditions have not been met. The process covers 17 grounds on which you can seek possession of a property before the end of a short term assured tenancy, they include: rent arrears, deterioration of the property due to neglect, furniture has deteriorated, the tenant provided false information, the tenant has caused or is likely to cause a nuisance.
Depending on the terms broken you must give 2 weeks to 2 months’ notice.
The government are also seeking to amend section 8 to speed up the process to evict tenants who fall into arrears or damage property.
Shelter, Generation Rent, and Citizens Advice are amongst the organisations that have applauded the government’s plans, hailing the consultation as a ‘ground-breaking shake-up.’
While landlords’ representatives have argued that section 21 is only used to get around lengthy court delays, when they need to evict tenants who have fallen into rent arrears.