The government has announced plans to consult on bringing an end to the Section 21 process under the Housing Act 1988.
At present, the Section 21 process allows landlords to end a residential Assured Shorthold Tenancy (the most common type of residential tenancy) on as little as two months’ notice once the fixed term has ended, without giving a reason. The flexibility of recovering property on two months’ notice is a huge incentive for landlords and results in greater numbers of residential properties being available for rent.
The rise in the number of people - and in particular families – renting, however, means that tenants are looking for more long-term security and stability.
Scotland scrapped their similar no-fault eviction process in 2017 and similar plans have been announced for Wales. Whilst the announcement is only for a consultation at this stage, it seems likely England will follow suit.
However, further proposals have been announced to soften the blow for landlords. The current Section 8 eviction process, which landlords can only use if their tenants have broken the terms of the tenancy, will be amended and strengthened to include new grounds for landlords to regain their property if they want to move in or sell up.
The Court process to obtain possession is also intended to be smoother and quicker, to assist landlords in regaining their properties if tenants cause damage or fail to pay their rent.
The government anticipates that getting rid of the Section 21 process will create open ended tenancies and remove the fear for tenants living in private rented accommodation. The changes, however, may result in landlords thinking twice before accepting tenants that they may deem a risk, and could push them out of the industry all together.
For now, though, we will need to wait for the results of the consultation process before judging the impact of the reforms.
If you’re concerned about how a potential end to the Section 21 process may affect you, please contact our Property Litigation Team.
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