End of Section 21
The Government has recently announced plans on new legislation to abolish Section 21 evictions, the so-called “no-fault evictions”. If these plans go ahead, landlords will no longer be allowed to serve tenants with a Section 21 notice. They won’t be permitted to give two months’ notice to end an expired fixed term or periodic tenancy.
Without Section 21 evictions, tenancies are to become open-ended where landlords will only be able to evict tenants where they have a legitimate reason to do so. If these proposed changes go ahead, the Section 8 process will be amended. This means landlords can regain their properties if they intend to sell or move into them themselves.
The Government also has other plans in the pipeline which is going to affect landlords. Ministers are proposing to expedite court processes so that landlords can quickly and smoothly regain possession of their rental properties. This is intended to cover circumstances where tenants damage the property or fall behind with rental payments.
Regarding the Section 21 process, government ministers are intending to consult and collaborate with:-
- Letting agents
No doubt many landlords will be concerned by the proposed changes. Many rely heavily on Section 21 notices.
Response to Section 21 changes
The Government’s end of Section 21 proposals has certainly fuelled response among landlords, tenants and letting agents. The reason behind the Government’s decision to axe Section 21 eviction powers is aimed at longer tenancy proposals. To date, there has only been a total of 5.0% in the number of responses:-
- 62% were from landlords
- 19% were from tenants
- 15% were from letting agents
- 4% from other organisations and individuals
Overall, 2,668 responses were received. A survey organised by the charity Shelter did provide more than 6,000 responses, most of which were in favour of the Section 21 changes.
The Government’s consultation highlighted that most people renting from private landlords have been left insecure by short fixed-term tenancies. Many tenants felt unable to plan for the future or call where they were living home. The majority favour different lengths of tenancy depending on their personal circumstances, however in the main, landlords prefer the “status quo” to continue.
Swings and roundabouts
The proposed end of Section 21 has certainly caused plenty of debate among landlords, tenants and letting agents. 79% of tenants who responded to the Government’s consultation had not been offered longer tenancies by their landlords. If they had, 81% would have accepted a longer tenancy. For tenants, the feeling was that this would bring:-
- Improved security, a view that was acknowledged by most landlords
- Better well-being and welfare
- Feeling part of their local community
These points were also acknowledged by the vast majority of landlords. What is clear is that a one-size approach to tenancy length won’t meet the needs of tenants and landlords operating in the market today.
If you are unsure about the proposed ending of Section 21, contact one of our friendly advisers here at Bricks & Mortar.