Is it the end for ‘no-fault’ evictions?

June 26, 2019Categories: Landlords, TenantsTags: Landlords, tenants, legislation
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Update:

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has launched its consultation on abolishing so called ‘no-fault’ evictions and improving Section 8 grounds. It will run for 12 weeks and closes on 12 October 2019. Further details of the consultation can be found below.


On 15th April, the government announced that it is moving forward with a proposal to end ‘no-fault’ evictions, which are currently carried out via Section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act.

This new proposal - branded ‘the biggest change to the Private Rented Sector for a generation’ - and means private landlords in England would no longer be able to end a tenancy at short notice and without a valid reason. As the law currently stands, the report suggests many tenants live with the constant worry that they might be asked to leave their rented home at any point, particularly if they make complaints. And evidence shows that the Section 21 process is one of the biggest causes of family homelessness.

The government’s own research has revealed that the average length of residence in the Private Rented Sector is 3.9 years, whereas 81% of tenancies granted are for an initial fixed term of just 6 or 12 months. The proposed change would essentially mean an open-ended rental agreement, giving tenants greater security of tenure.

Scotland adopted a similar system on 1st December 2017, when a new ‘private residential tenancy’ was introduced. Under the terms of that tenancy:
 

  • If a landlord wants to evict a tenant who’s lived in a property for more than 6 months, they must give them at least 84 days’ notice to leave, and
  • Unless a tenant has breached the terms of their tenancy or agreed to leave, they can only be evicted if the property is required for another purpose (e.g. it’s being sold or the landlord wants to move in themselves) or there’s a legal reason why the tenancy can’t continue (e.g. the landlord’s registration has been refused).

The government has also stated that although this initiative is mainly to help tenants, it recognises for this to work, landlords will need greater security to gain possession of their house under certain circumstances, such as selling or moving back into a home. The proposals will explore strengthening the laws around Section 8 and may include the introduction of a housing court which is already under consideration.

This is a proposal at this stage and will require a lot of discussion which is taking place via the consultation just launched. Tenants, landlords and others in the private rented sector will have the opportunity to input into the consultation here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-new-deal-for-renting-resetting-the-balance-of-rights-and-responsibilities-between-landlords-and-tenants

This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 12 October 2019.

Meanwhile, the all the latest information is also available on the GOV.UK website.

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Sources:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-end-to-unfair-evictions

https://scotland.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/advice_topics/eviction/eviction_of_private_tenants/grounds_for_eviction_for_private_residential_tenancy_tenants

https://www.mygov.scot/ending-a-tenancy-as-a-landlord/private-residential-tenancies/