16th August 2023
The government has confirmed its plans to abolish section 21 in England under the Renters’ Reform Bill, also known as a “no fault” eviction notice. Section 8 grounds will also be strengthened. Sarah Everton, Head of the Myers & Co Employment Law team, gives a breakdown of what landlords need to know about the recent changes to legislation.
Under current legislation landlords can evict their tenants by serving a section 21 notice, giving them two months’ notice once their fixed-term contract has ended. Under section 21, landlords aren’t required by law to provide their tenants with a reason for eviction, which is why they’re often referred to as ‘no fault’ evictions. Plans to abolish section 21 eviction notices were first set out in 2019, under the Renters’ Reform Bill.
The Bill outlines plans to simplify tenancy structures. The changes mean that the tenancy can only end if the tenant leaves by choice, or if the landlord has a valid reason to evict them. Therefore, ‘no fault’ evictions would no longer be legal.
Following the abolition of section 21 notices, landlords will need to provide their tenants with a valid reason for ending a tenancy. Tenants, however, will be able to choose to end the tenancy at any time if they provide two months’ notice to the landlord. Moving forward, the government will instead strengthen the grounds for possession under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. This will allow landlords to recover their property in reasonable circumstances.
After a tenant has lived in a property for six months, landlords will be able to evict a tenant under “reasonable” circumstances under section 8. This includes:
The government will also be strengthening the grounds for anti-social behaviour. Landlords can make a possession claim immediately for “behaviours ‘capable of causing’ nuisance or annoyance.” The government’s white paper also warned landlords that “any attempt to find loopholes will not be tolerated”. The government also said at the time that it would “consider the case” for new or strengthened penalties to support those currently in existence, including councils to issue Civil Penalties Notices.
There is no exact date yet for when The Renters (Reform) Bill will become law, however it expected to happen in October 2024. The government is proposing a two-stage rollout of the bill. Initially it will only impact new tenancies, pre-existing tenancies will then be included 12 months later.
If you are a landlord seeking to take back possession of your property, our lawyers can advise you on your rights and guide you through those proceedings. For further information please contact Sarah Everton on 01782 525012 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.