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End of Section 21 eviction notices: the effect and options for Landlords

Tom Edwards - LCF Law - Disputes - The end of Section 21 eviction notices

It has been recently confirmed that the Government remain committed to abolishing a landlord’s ability to terminate a residential tenancy without requiring a reason. Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 has enabled landlords to terminate certain residential tenancies by providing the tenant with 2 months’ notice to leave and without needing a reason to do so. These have been known generally as no-fault evictions.

The Current Law 

Under current legislation, a landlord can recover possession of a residential property once the fixed term of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy has expired, by serving a notice under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

There are certain pre-conditions required of the landlord for the Section 21 notice to be validly served on the tenant, such as:

  • The Tenancy Deposit Scheme has been complied with.
  • Energy Performance Certificates and Gas Safety Certificates have been provided to the Tenant.
  • The latest “How to Rent” Guide has been provided to the Tenant.
  • At least two months’ notice has been given to the Tenant.

By using the Section 21 Notice procedure, a landlord is not required to rely on any grounds of tenant default for possession, such as rent arrears or other breach of the terms of the tenancy.

What are the proposed changes?

The June 2022 White Paper presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities sets out the proposed changes which will be introduced alongside the abolition of Section 21. The aim is to deliver “a fairer, more secure, higher quality private rented sector”. All tenancies will change from Assured Shorthold Tenancies to periodic tenancies.

Other measures to be introduced include a new Ombudsman to deal with disputes between landlord and tenant without the need to go to court, and a new Property Portal to assist landlords and tenants understand their rights and responsibilities.

When will the changes take place?

The Government intends to introduce a Renters Reform Bill into Parliament in this 2022/2023 Parliamentary session (by April 2023) which will provide the legislative basis to deliver the reforms outlined above. The Government will provide six-months’ notice of implementation, from which date all new tenancies will be governed by the new rules. At least 12 months following this date, all existing tenancies will be transitioned to the new system and all tenants will be protected from Section 21 eviction.

What does this mean for a landlord? 

The proposed abolition of Section 21 no-fault evictions mean that a landlord can only end a tenancy if there is a valid ground for possession under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. If the tenant ends the tenancy, they will need to provide two months’ notice which provides some protection for the landlord to find new tenants and avoid lengthy vacant periods.

Whilst the end of Section 21 evictions provides the tenant with increased protection, proposals to reform the grounds for possession under Section 8 will assist landlords regain possession when necessary. These proposals include a new ground for landlords wishing to sell their property and allowing landlords and close family to move into a rental property. A new ground will also be introduced where the tenant has been in at least two months’ rent arrears three times within the previous three years.

What can we do to help?

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 Edwards on 01274 386567 or by email to ku.oc1720861086.fcl@1720861086sdraw1720861086det1720861086 for more details.

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