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Government to end no fault evictions

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The government has announced consultation on scrapping Section 21 no-fault evictions, in favour of a speedier court system, which would help landlords repossess homes where they have a legitimate cause.

No fault evictions

 

Ministers believe that Section 21, which is hard to challenge in the courts, is a leading cause of homelessness. It is also believed that Section 21 notices are used for so-called ‘revenge evictions’ against tenants, who have complained about an aspect of their rental home.

The proposals were announced by the Prime Minister, Theresa May. She said: “Millions of responsible tenants could still be uprooted by their landlord with little notice, and often little justification.

“This is wrong – and today we’re acting by preventing these unfair evictions. This important step will not only protect tenants from unethical behaviour, but also give them the long-term certainty and the peace of mind they deserve.”

But the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) warned that the move could create “serious dangers” for the supply of properties to rent.

Dave Smith, policy director at the RLA said: “With the demand for private rented homes continuing to increase, we need the majority of good landlords to have confidence to invest in new homes. This means ensuring they can swiftly repossess properties for legitimate reasons such as rent arrears, tenant anti-social behaviour or wanting to sell. This needs to happen before any moves are made to end Section 21.”

A Section 21 notice of seeking possession can be served by a landlord on a tenant with eight weeks’ notice, after a fixed term tenancy ends or during a periodic tenancy. The landlord does not need to have a reason for serving the notice.

But research by Manchester Metropolitan University for the RLA found that Section 21 notices are frequently used when there is a good reason for landlords to seek possession, such as rent arrears and damage to property.

Under the proposed change, landlords would be required to serve a Section 8 notice instead. Section 8 is employed when a tenant has broken the terms of their agreement, by not paying rent or conducting criminal activity in the rental home, for example.

The government has pledged to extend the remit of Section 8 notices; meaning they could be used if landlords wish to sell a property or move back in themselves.

David Cox, chief executive of the professional body for letting agents, ARLA Propertymark, added that the change could be “devastating” for the sector.

“The effects of the tenant fees ban have not yet been felt, and now the government is introducing more new legislation which could deter landlords from operating in the market.

“Although in the majority of cases there is no need for Section 21 to be used, there are times when a landlord has no choice but to take action and evict tenants from a property,” he said.

Read more about this story in The Guardian and on the Landlord Today website.

Neil Jennings

Neil is the Operations Director at Assetgrove Lettings, London's Leading Rent Guarantee Company, providing Landlords with no voids, property maintenance, fee-free property management and stress-free service.

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