The government is proposing legislation that will bring no-fault evictions to an end. The end of no-fault evictions – which is currently the biggest single cause of homelessness in England will have an extensive impact on the housing market as 13 million people in the UK currently rent from a private landlord.
- What is a no-fault eviction?
A no-fault eviction (commonly known as a ‘Section 21 notice’) allows landlords to terminate an assured shorthold tenancy without having to establish a breach of the tenancy agreement. Therefore, provided certain conditions are met, the court is obliged to make a possession order without the landlord having to provide a reason for the eviction. Section 21 notices provide a useful tool for landlords who wish to gain possession of their property quickly and cheaply.
- The proposals
The government has proposed that it will abolish no fault evictions because the ability of landlords to terminate a tenancy agreement, without reason, has a ‘detrimental effect on tenants’ wellbeing’, including tenants not feeling secure in their property and worries about disruption to their children’s education.
The government also cited ‘unscrupulous’ landlords who fail to carry out repairs, leaving tenants living in unsafe conditions, and feeling powerless with the threat of being evicted at any point.
In essence the proposal to ban the Section 21 no-fault procedure aims to rebalance the tenant/landlord relationship.
- What will this mean for landlords and how can we assist?
The abolition of the Section 21 procedure will most likely mean that landlords will have to use the ‘Section 8 procedure’. The main point of difference is that under the Section 8 procedure, landlords need to prove a ‘ground’ on which they seek possession, e.g., a tenant’s failure to pay rent.
Whilst some grounds are mandatory (i.e. if the ground is met, the court must order possession) other grounds are discretionary, therefore even if the landlord can prove the ground has been met, the court still has discretion to decide whether it is reasonable to grant possession. For this reason many landlords prefer to use the Section 21 procedure.
At Bell Lax we have significant expertise in landlord and tenant disputes and can advise on the appropriate procedure to evict a tenant.
If you are a landlord who is concerned about these changes, or wish to discuss evicting a tenant, please call us on 0121 355 0011 to speak to one of our lawyers who will be happy to assist you.