Are ‘No Fault Evictions’ About to Be Scrapped?
The government have introduced plans for a consultation on scrapping no-fault evictions. Currently, under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, landlords can evict a tenant from their property without giving a reason. The government consultation marks a firm step in the direction of removing this power. The homelessness charity Shelter have declared the proposed changes “an outstanding victory” for renters. Let’s take a closer look at what exactly is being proposed.
An End to Revenge Evictions
The proposed changes to the legislation are intended to stop revenge evictions. Organisations that represent tenants have long claimed that Section 21 notices are used unfairly by unethical landlords. Such a landlord might issue an eviction notice rather than carry out requested repairs to a property. Under the new proposals, landlords seeking eviction would have to issue a notice under Section 8 of the Housing Act and demonstrate that the tenant:
- Has fallen into rent arrears
- Has been involved in criminal or antisocial behaviour at the property
- Has damaged the property
The tenant has the right to challenge a Section 8 eviction in court – which can lead to months of delay while legal proceedings take place. The government has promised that court processes will be sped up as part of the changes.
Selling or Reoccupying a House
Landlords who wish to sell a house or move back into it themselves can currently use the Section 21 legislation to evict a tenant first. This right of a landlord to sell a property or reoccupy it will be protected when Section 21 is scrapped. The consultation will examine ways of achieving this, but most likely there will be an amendment to the grounds for repossession cited in Schedule 2 of Section 8 that will include these two eventualities.
Critical Reception of the Announcement
Homelessness charities and tenants’ unions are generally pleased with the proposals. The Residential Landlords’ Association have warned that the changes could make buy-to-let lenders more circumspect. David Smith, policy director for the RLA told the Guardian:
“For all the talk of greater security for tenants, that will be nothing if the homes to rent are not there in the first place.”
We have always believed in treating tenants completely fairly. We don’t see these changes as affecting our business practices as we would never engage in ‘revenge evictions’. When a tenant makes a reasonable request for repair or maintenance to a property, we see that it is done quickly and with minimum interruption to the tenant.
Pearl Lettings is a property management company that always abide by the letter of the law. We stay up-to-date with the latest legislation so that the landlords we represent don’t get caught out by changes in the law that they were unaware of. To find out more about how our services can take the stress out of letting a property, call our office on 01603 980770 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.