Posted by Caroline Preist, Partner
Time’s up for Section 21? What this latest development means for landlords
A significant announcement had been made by Theresa May bringing about a consultation for a major shakeup on what was the more recently termed as ‘no-fault evictions’.
The Section 21 notice has long been the landlord’s fail safe mechanism for obtaining vacant possession at the end of an assured shorthold tenancy by giving two months’ notice to quit. This two month notice did not require any reason or rationale, and was often used by the landlord to either end the tenancy or bring about a new tenancy (to the same tenant) at a new rent.
The downside being that for tenants there were significant levels of uncertainty – recent statistics from Shelter suggest that many long-term renters have been forced to move as much as three times in a five year period. Campaigners have argued that renters need certainty and protection from retaliatory eviction (where they may have complained against a landlord for the state of repair of the property).
What does the change mean for landlords?
The government has recently announced that it will consult on options for preventing unfair evictions by forcing landlords to utilise the Section 8 process in the Housing Act 1988. Usually this process is implemented when the tenant is in arrears of rent or is in other breaches of the tenancy, for example by damaging the property or antisocial behaviour.
The recent announcement suggests an amendment to the Section 8 procedure to enable the landlord to give notice that they wish to sell the property or move back into it themselves. However, this may provide the tenant with the option to test the landlord’s intention in court.
There are many unknowns as to how the consultation will unfold and how legislation may look should it appear on the statute books. This consultation is seen as a victory for those campaigning for tenant rights and long-term certainty in renting property. However, the balance does need to be struck for responsible landlords wishing to ensure they maintain the flexibility to invest in the property market and also obtain possession from tenants who breach their tenancy agreements.
Royds Withy King have specialist knowledge of all aspects of residential lettings both from the perspective of the landlord and the tenant. We can assist you with all matters relating to the correct tenancy agreement and, where necessary, obtaining possession.
Watch this space for all future developments regarding this consultation – it certainly appears some significant changes may be appearing shortly.
If you have any questions about ending a tenancy for Tim or our Property Disputes team, please get in touch today.
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