Posts with tag: Section 8

Ongoing housing possession action suspended by MHCLG

Published On: March 30, 2020 at 8:19 am


Categories: Law News

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The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has now suspended all ongoing housing possession claims.

This decision was made last Friday by the Master of the Rolls, England’s second most senior judge. It means evictions can no longer go ahead legally until further notice.

The MHCLG said in a statement: “From 27 March 2020 following a decision by the master of the rolls with the Lord Chancellors agreement, the court service will suspend all ongoing housing possession action – this means that neither cases currently in the or any about to go in the system can progress to the stage where someone could be evicted.

“This suspension of housing possessions action will initially last for 90 days, but this can be extended if needed.

“This measure will protect all private and social renters, as well as those with mortgages and those with licenses covered by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. This will apply to both England and Wales.”

David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark comments: “However difficult it may be, this is the right decision in light of the current circumstances. Yet evictions will not be required if we can keep the rent flowing. 

“The latest advice is that people stay put, and as long as the Government helps tenants pay their rent, there will not be a large build-up of debt from rent arrears, meaning there will be no logical reason why a landlord would start eviction proceedings.”

Government eviction reforms “risk increasing delays”, warns Osbornes Law

Published On: October 14, 2019 at 9:36 am


Categories: Law News

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Government plans to change the law on tenant evictions may not improve tenants’ security, warns London law firm Osbornes Law.

The firm believes that such changes could risk being unworkable in practice. This is in response to a Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) consultation, A New Deal for Renting.

Osbornes Law warns that an increase in factual disputes about the reasons for evictions will strain a court system that is already struggling to cope.

The MHCLG proposes to abolish assured shorthold tenancies so that landlords cannot use Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 to evict tenants at the end of the fixed-term tenancy without providing a reason or avenue to challenge.

Instead, Section 8 will be used more frequently, being issued to a tenant for either breaching the terms of their tenancy agreement for other reasons, such as the landlord wanting access to the property to sell up or for personal use. The MHCLG also promises faster redress through the courts.

Shilpa Mathuradas, head of property litigation at Osbornes Law, points out that, despite publicity about rogue landlords seeking to evict tenants for no good reason, they represent a tiny minority of property owners.

Research conducted by the Residential Landlord Association (RLA) found that 84% of landlords who had used the Section 21 process did so because of tenant arrears, and 56% because of the damage to property and antisocial behaviour.

She says: “If the process is to be abolished, then landlords need to be assured that a workable system is available to ensure that where landlords rightfully seek possession this is obtained quickly and efficiently without significant cost to landlords, who are often in a position where rent is not being paid where there are ongoing court proceedings.

“If a landlord is rightfully claiming possession based on rent arrears or any other fault of the tenant, this is not going to stop because the Section 21 process is abolished. Landlords will simply pursue the tenants through the more expensive and lengthier Section 8 process. This will not create stability and security for the tenant.”

Her colleague, Alex McMahon, an associate solicitor in the property litigation team, adds that more factual disputes, and the need for courts to resolve them, will be unavoidable as a result of the reforms: “Tenants must be allowed to defend allegations of fault, and to bring a counterclaim if appropriate.

“Judicial scrutiny is the safeguard for both sides, and unsuccessful parties to disputes can expect cost orders to be made against them.

“In my view, the problem with delay is not found in the legal framework but in the overburdened legal infrastructure that applies it. Our courts are now so significantly clogged up with disputes that claims can take many months before they are listed for a first hearing.”

Letting agents urged to ensure eviction notices are correct

Published On: May 19, 2017 at 8:57 am


Categories: Landlord News

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Letting agents are being urged to ensure that they serve eviction notices in the correct manner, as the so-called ‘peak eviction’ period looms.

Specialist tenant referencing service Rent4sure suggests that particular attention should be paid to both Section 8 and Section 21 notices, which are two of the most complex.

Eviction Notices

A section 8 notice can be served should a tenant be in breach of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement and is the most common way to combat rent arrears.

Luke Burton, Sales and Marketing Director at Rent4sure, noted: ‘A landlord or their agent should serve a Section 8 notice under grounds 8, 10 and 11 as soon as the tenant defaults on two months of rent arrears.’[1]

‘This differs slightly when the rent is paid weekly, or quarterly and in some instances, you may have to wait for a further period before serving a Section 8 notice under the mandatory ground 8,’ he continued.[1]

Mr Burton noted that if rent is paid weekly or fortnightly, eight weeks’ rent must be overdue before a Section 8 notice can be served.

For quarterly rent payments, there must be at least one quarter’s worth of rent outstanding- ie a tenant must be at least three months in arrears.

‘If the rent is paid yearly, at least three months’ rent must be three months in arrears,’ Burton added.[1]

Letting agents urged to ensure eviction notices are correct

Letting agents urged to ensure eviction notices are correct

Section 21

Meanwhile, a Section 21 notice should only be served at the conclusion of a fixed term, or as per an agreed break clause within the tenancy agreement. This type of notice should be served giving the tenant two month’s worth of notice.

However, if the tenancy agreement commenced before October 1st 2015, notice can be served at any time.

Burton explains that should a tenancy have commenced post 1st October 2015 agents are not permitted to serve a Section 21 until the first four months of the tenancy have passed.

Government Form 6A-only valid for six months from date of issue- should be used for all tenancies starting after this date. This includes renewals.

Letting agents and landlords can source more information in our Eviction Notice Guide for Landlords.