Law News

Housing Secretary Publishes Written Statement on Section 21 Reform

Em Morley - April 29, 2019

On the 15th of April, the government announced that, without a legitimate legal reason, landlords would no longer be able to evict their tenants.

As it stands, section 21 gives landlords the option to evict their current tenants by giving an eight week notice period. These no-fault evictions are issued in instances if the landlord selling the property, or moving in themselves, for example. However, without Section 21, landlords will have little choice but to use the Section 8 route if they wish to evict a tenant, which involves applying for a court order.

This route can take a significantly longer amount of time, however it could mean tenants are much more stable and settled in their homes, plus it could help filter rogue landlords out of the system.

James Brokenshire writes: “The current legislative framework leaves tenants feeling insecure. They can be asked to leave their homes, with as little as two months’ notice, without the landlord providing any reason, using eviction proceedings under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. This sense of insecurity can profoundly affect the ability of renters to plan for the future, to manage their finances or to put down roots in their local communities.

“The government intends to establish a fairer system for both tenants and landlords by legislating to repeal Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. Bringing an end to so called ‘no fault evictions’, would mean that a tenant cannot be forced to leave their home unless the landlord can prove a specified ground, such as rent arrears or breach of tenancy agreement. It would provide tenants with more stability and protect them from having to make frequent and short notice moves. It would also empower tenants to challenge their landlord about poor property standards where this occurs, without the worry of being evicted as a result of making a complaint.

“The private rented sector must also remain a stable and secure market for landlords to continue to invest in. The legislation I intend to introduce will include measures that provide landlords with additional safeguards to successfully manage their properties. We will strengthen the existing grounds for eviction available to landlords under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. This will allow the landlord to regain their property when they want to sell it or move into it themselves.

“It is important that landlords can have confidence that the court system works for them in instances when there is no other option but to seek possession of their property through the courts. That is why this announcement includes improvements to court processes, to make it quicker and smoother for landlords to regain their properties when they have a legitimate reason to do so.”

You can read more about the biggest change to the private rental sector in a generation on the website, here. Plus, find out what our expert Editor, Rose Jinks, thinks about scrapping the section 21 notice.