Last month the Government announced plans to consult on new legislation to abolish Section 21 evictions, commonly known as ‘no-fault’ evictions. This means that private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants at short notice and without good reason.
If you are a landlord, it is important to understand what the proposed changes to the eviction process are and what impact they will have on you and your tenants.
The current law
At present in England and Wales, if a landlord wishes to regain possession of their property, they may evict tenants by serving notice under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. This simply requires the landlord to give tenants eight weeks’ notice for fixed-term tenancies or three to six months’ notice in the case of periodic tenancies without needing to provide a reason. Notice can ordinarily be served up to two months before the expiry of the fixed term or at any point after the original term of the tenancy has expired.
If the tenant fails to vacate the property after eight weeks, landlords may apply for a possession order from the court. If the notice has been validly served and there are no issues with the claim, then the court must grant them possession of the property.
Proposed changes to the eviction process
The proposed changes would see the abolition of Section 21 evictions and would require landlords to use the Section 8 process in order to evict tenants to regain possession of the property.
This process only allows landlords to evict tenants in certain situations, usually where the tenant has breached certain terms within the tenancy agreement, such as falling into rental arrears or causing damage to the property. Also, unlike the Section 21 process, tenants have the right to appeal Section 8 evictions in court, which often results in delays and extra costs for landlords.
The Government has indicated that they will be amending the Section 8 process to allow landlords to seek evictions if they wish to sell or move into the property and to try to speed up the process to reduce costs and minimise disputes. However, these details are yet to be confirmed.
When will the changes to the eviction process come into effect?
At the time of writing, there is no set date for when these changes will come into effect, but the Government has stated that they will launch a new consultation ‘shortly’ and that they will ‘collaborate with and listen to tenants, landlords and others in the private rented sector to develop a new deal for renting’.
Ministers have stated that they will be working with other types of housing providers outside of the private rented sector ‘to make sure the new system works for them.’
Get legal advice on landlord and tenant disputes
If you need legal advice on any aspect of landlord and tenant disputes, such as landlord and tenant notices, recovery of rent arrears or bringing a tenancy to an end, Preston Redman can help.
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