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No-fault eviction ban delayed indefinitely
Housing Secretary Michael Gove has recently announced that the government is placing the no-fault eviction ban on hold.
This means that until further notice, landlords may continue to recover possession of a residential property without giving a reason to do so by serving notice under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (‘the Act’).
Reform in the private rented sector
The Renters Reform Bill (‘the Bill’) was introduced to parliament on 17 May 2023. It is due to be one of the most significant pieces of legislation for landlords and private renters in the last 30 years. The Bill implements a number of changes with a view to creating a ‘fairer, more secure, higher quality private rented sector’, which include abolishing Section 21 no-fault eviction notices.
This will be a fundamental change for residential landlords in England. Under current legislation, once a valid notice has been served and the minimum two months’ notice has passed, the landlord may commence possession proceedings and obtain a possession order. The changes mean that a landlord would only be able to recover possession:
- where the tenant terminates the tenancy;
- where both parties agree to surrender the tenancy; or
- by serving a notice under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988, provided they can rely on one or more of the grounds for possession contained in the Act.
Although the statutory grounds for possession are due to be extended, the need to provide a reason for seeking possession will make it harder for landlords to recover possession where they cannot rely on one of the statutory grounds.
Why has the no-fault eviction ban been delayed?
With courts across the UK already dealing with hefty backlogs and delays, the government has acknowledged that they are not yet fit for purpose. Plans to streamline the process include digitalising the courts process, improving bailiff recruitment and strengthening mediation services. The plans to abolish Section 21 will not go ahead until sufficient progress has been made.
Currently other key reforms are still set to be part of the Bill, although these will be subject to further scrutiny as it progresses through Parliament.
What does this mean for landlords?
Although the implementation to ban no fault evictions has been placed on hold pending reforms to the courts, the rules are still set to form part of the Bill and will eventually require landlords to have a legitimate reason for seeking possession. In the meantime, landlords can continue to seek possession on the basis of a valid section 21 notice being served and the correct processes being followed. There are a number of additional conditions required of the landlord, such as:
- Compliance with the rules surrounding the Tenancy Deposit Scheme;
- Provision of Energy Performance Certificates and Gas Safety Certificates to the tenant; and
- Provision of the relevant ‘How to Rent’ guide to the tenant.
How can Tom help you?
If you are a landlord thinking about serving a Section 21 or Section 8 Notice or require any advice in relation to the above, please contact Tom on 01274 386567 or at ku.oc1708862153.fcl@1708862153sdraw1708862153det1708862153 for more details.