Landlords may or may not know that plans have been announced regarding changes in the property rental sector. Housing Secretary James Brokenshire has spoken of scrapping Section 21 notices which were approved by Theresa May to protect tenants from unfair eviction.
New proposals include landlords having to provide evidence for bringing a tenancy to an end. Current rules that allow evictions at any time are no longer legal without a very good reason.
There’s good news for responsible landlords in that there’s little change for them. However, there are some facts that need to be taken into account.
The end of this consultation ends on October 12th so let’s look at the plans in more detail and what they involve.
Just what is a Section 21 notice?
A Section 21 notice is known as a “no-fault possession notice” or a notice to quit. Landlords don’t usually need to give a reason to tenants for wanting their property back.
This particular section of the 1988 Housing Act, along with the notice, can be used if a Section 8 notice is not wanted or is not possible. If the property is on an assured shorthold tenancy agreement (AST), a Section 21 notice can be issued.
This Section 21 notice allows tenants to have two months’ notice in which to leave the property. This cannot be used on fixed-term rentals.
Section 8 notice
Section 8 notice is used for those on an assured shorthold tenancy agreement instead of or with a Section 21 notice. The landlord needs to give a reason for the eviction such as:-
- Non-payment of rent
- Breach of the tenancy agreement
- Criminal behaviour
- Anti-social behaviour
Using a Section 21 notice
A Section 21 notice can be used to evict tenants during a tenancy that has no fixed end date (a periodic tenancy). It also comes into effect if the fixed-term tenancy ends, only if there’s a written contract.
When any of the following apply, a landlord cannot use a Section 21 notice:-
- The property has multiple occupations but not the proper “house in multiple occupations” (HMO) licence from the council.
- If the tenancy started less than four months ago or the fixed term hasn’t ended unless this is specified in the contract.
- The council has served a notice to improve the property in the last six months.
- The landlord hasn’t paid unlawful deposits or fees charged to the tenant.
- The tenancy began after April 2007 and the tenant’s deposit wasn’t put in a deposit protection scheme.
- The tenancy started after October 2015 and the landlord didn’t use Form 6a.
The property’s EPC, a gas safety certificate for the property and the Government’s “How to Rent” guide should also be given to the tenant.
When changes will take effect
Section 21 is going to be scrapped at some time in the future. When consultation ends on October 12th 2019, the Government are going to make an appropriate response. There will be a six-month transition period before the new law comes into force, enough time for landlords to comply with any changes.