Government will end ‘no fault’ evictions
The Government is banning Section 21 notices which allow landlords to evict tenants without giving a reason. Tenants can currently be given as little as 8 weeks notice once their fixed-term tenancy period ends. Loss of a private rented tenancy is the main cause of homelessness in the UK.
The announcement has provoked intense debate, with strong support from renter’s organisations and equally strong opposition from landlords.
Tenants will no longer have to worry that they could be evicted just for bringing up maintenance problems, for example, as has been reported. The homelessness charity Shelter has called the change an “outstanding victory” that will “transform lives”.
Section 8 notices
The move means that landlords will in future have to turn to Section 8 notices to evict tenants. In these cases the landlord must have specific grounds for the eviction, such as rent arrears. Section 8 cases frequently end up in the Courts and can take a long time to resolve, with nuisance tenants continuing to live in the property. The landlord’s association, ARLA, said the news was “devastating for the private rented sector and landlords operating within it.”
Pros and cons of the Section 21 notice ban
It’s tempting to fall back on the stereotypes of rapacious landlords/vulnerable tenants or responsible landlords/dishonest tenants. But the reality is that most landlords and tenants are genuine and honest. With valid points on each side, here’s a summary of the pros and cons:
For the ban
- Tenants will have the security of knowing that their tenancy is safe as long as they don’t breach the terms of their lease.
- Unscrupulous landlords will not be able to evict tenants when they complain that they aren’t meeting their landlord obligations.
- ‘Snap evictions’ where landlords evict tenants at very short notice will no longer possible.
- Unfair and unreasonable evictions will be a thing of the past.
Against the ban
- Landlords will have fewer avenues to follow to evict troublesome tenants. Section 8 notices have to go through the courts, meaning a lengthy process before the landlord can take back possession of the property. The Government has indicated that they will also be reviewing the Section 8 process with the aim of speeding it up.
- The ban could mean that landlords leave the private rented sector or fewer come into the sector. This could result in a decrease in the number of properties available to rent. Housing is already in short supply so this could impact badly on renters seeking accommodation.
- Mortgage lenders may be less likely to offer Buy To Let mortgages if they feel the investment is not reliable; again, this could mean there are fewer properties available to rent.
- Instead of evictions, landlords could increase rents in order to get rid of tenants.
What may be some comfort for landlords is that no fault evictions (known as Section 33 notices) were banned in Scotland over a year ago. Scottish landlords were just as resistant to the change as their English counterparts, but the predictions of disaster have not materialised.
Disputes over property are stressful whether you are a landlord or a tenant. The PM Law Dispute Resolution team can offer expert help to resolve the situation. We offer a free initial phone call and we will advise you on the best course of action. Phone 0114 220 1795 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.