Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 allows private landlords to repossess their properties from assured shorthold tenants without having to establish fault on the part of the tenant, often referred to as “no-fault evictions”. This rule means landlords can end tenancies at any time, through no fault of the tenants. Many people argue that this negatively impacts tenants’ lives and wellbeing.
A 2018 consultation regarding the issue found that tenants who rent from private landlords feel insecure in their properties as they don’t know how long they’ll be able to stay there and at what point they may be asked to vacate. “This insecurity can have wide-ranging effects – from disrupting children’s education and the impact on mental health through to the cost of frequent moves undermining people’s ability to save for a deposit” [source].
As a result of continued pressure from private tenants and representative bodies for tenants, the UK Government held a consultation regarding the abolition of section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 in April 2019. As well as abolishing section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, the consultation paper added new measures to toughen the Grounds for Possession.
The consultation paper states that the ‘government is committed to modernising the private rental sector, and intends to introduce a new, fairer deal for both landlords and tenants.’ This includes putting an end to so-called ‘no-fault’ evictions, which will protect rental tenants from living in fear of having to make a short notice move. This change will help tenants feel more secure in their rental homes and to plan without fear of being told they must move out quickly with very little time to plan and prepare.
The consultation paper also outlines amendments to the Section 8 eviction process, which means that landlords would be able to regain their property if they want to sell it or if they wish to move into it themselves. This process would mean a more secure legal framework for landlords and a more stable rental market.
Removing no-fault evictions would be an important step in resetting the balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants. It would have massive benefits for tenants as they’d no longer need to worry about being told to leave their rental property with short notice and move elsewhere, so they’d more easily be able to live with more security.
If you’re a tenant looking for the perfect rental property for your needs, Thomas H Wood is here to help. Take a look at our rental properties and get in touch if you want to discuss anything further. If you’re a landlord looking for property management services, we have a selection of different property management schemes available. Take a look at our landlord section of the website.