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Changes on the way to abolish ‘no-fault’ evictions

If you’re a residential property landlord, or intend to become one, then you may have seen the headlines and articles appearing over recent months regarding forthcoming changes to the law which will affect the rights of both you and your tenants.

Under the Housing Act 1988 and, specifically, Section 21 of the Act, private sector landlords in England and Wales have legally been able to repossess their properties from their assured shorthold tenants (ASTs) once their fixed-term contract has come to an end by providing them with as little as two months’ notice.

As things currently stand, landlords may terminate the tenancy after this period of time without being required to give any reason for their decision.

In the spring of 2019, the Government announced that: “Private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants from their homes at short notice and without good reason.”

After a four-month consultation process that same year, a resulting paper proposed that Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 should be abolished and an end to ‘no-fault’ evictions.

Kate Ridley is the Lettings Manager at Milne Moser: “The Government made a commitment to abolish no-fault evictions, something which was publicised as a better deal for renters. Our understanding is that the intention of the changes isn’t just to enhance renters’ security but will also support landlords should they have legitimate reason for wishing to regain possession of their property.”

The security of tenants is a priority issue in the consultation paper, with a prominent concern being that ‘…those renting from private landlords have been left feeling insecure by short, fixed-term tenancies’, however, it is also anticipated that the reform to the Housing Act 1988 will also support the rights of landlords.

Under Section 8 of the current Act, the landlord is required to prove that a tenant has broken the terms of their tenancy agreement and may have to apply to the court for an order should they wish to regain the property to, for example, sell it or move into it themselves.

“We’re bringing this to the attention of landlords and those considering renting their property as this has the potential to be quite a significant change for both property owners and their tenants”, adds Kate.

“The anticipated changes to Section 8 of the Act should, we hope, ensure that landlord’s rights are equally well-represented by the changes.”

Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 has attracted a number of headlines during the past two years, particularly with the exponential increase in properties being changed in use from residential to holiday lets. This has been fuelled in no small part by the rise in ‘staycations’ as a direct impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the curtailing of holidays abroad.

“There’s no denying it, there are examples of landlords taking advantage of no-fault evictions in order to profit from the boom in self-catering holidays, so the anticipated changes will most definitely support the rights of tenants in this respect.” comments Justine Allen, Partner at Milne Moser Solicitors.

“At present, there is a lot of comment and opinion about what the full amendments to the Housing Act 1988 might entail, and whether they favour the landlord, the tenant, or both, and to what degree, but none has passed into law at this stage.”

“What we can say is that anyone considering becoming a landlord, or is an existing landlord seeking clarity, should talk to suitably qualified and experienced legal and property letting specialists who can help ensure they stay the right side of the law and that their interests are protected.”

“The experience of Kate and her lettings team, combined with Milne Moser Solicitors, means we are well-positioned to represent you and your property, ensuring your activities are legally correct and that you are doing the right thing by your tenants.”

 


 

Article References:

The end of ‘no fault’ section 21 evictions (Research Briefing, Published Wednesday, 29 December, 2021)

A new deal for renting: resetting the balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants (Consultation, Published 21 July, 2019)

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