Abolision of Section 21 – don’t panic! its Not as bad as it sounds

After recent speculation in the press, Prime Minister Liz Truss has reconfirmed her commitment to abolishing section 21, in her first PMQ session since the mini budget announcement. The A Fairer Private Rented sector White Paper outlines the government’s plans to outlaw section 21 and “replace section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction notices with a modern tenancy system”.

The paper proposes simplifying tenancy structures by transitioning all tenancies to periodic – meaning that the tenancy will end only if the tenant chooses to leave, or if the landlord has a valid reason, as defined by law.  

What is section 21?

In normal circumstances, when extended notice periods are not in place, landlords can evict their tenants under section 21 by providing them with two months’ notice once their fixed-term contract has come to an end.  Landlords aren’t required to provide their tenants with a reason for eviction, hence the term “no-fault” eviction. In contrast, to serve a section 8 notice, the landlord needs to prove that the tenant has broken the terms of the tenancy agreement.

What’s changing for section 21 & Section 8?

The headline grabber within the proposed changes set out in the Renters Reform Bill and confirmed in the new white paper, is to remove section 21 eviction notices.  The abolition of section 21 would put an end to so-called “no-fault evictions”, and instead transition all tenancies to periodic.  Almost as significant, but less publicised however, is as part of the new legislation the Section 8 notice will be strengthened so whilst landlords will always need to provide their tenants with a reason for ending a tenancy it should become easier.  Anticipated additional grounds that may be introduced will be if the Landlord is wanting to sell or move back into the property whilst of course the existing grounds for breaches of contact will remain (anti social behaviour, non payment etc) and become more “landlord friendly”.  Tenants will be able to choose to end the tenancy at any time, as long as they provide two months’ notice to the landlord.

The government feel that the changes will ensure that “responsible” landlords can gain possession of their properties efficiently from anti-social tenants and will be able to sell their properties or move back in when they need to.  It will also “target the areas where there are unacceptable delays in court proceedings and strengthen mediation and alternative dispute resolution”. All in all the changes seem sensible as they seem to cover all the reasons why a good reputable landlord may need to seek possession.

If you are a landlord and are unsure on how the proposed reforms may affect you then please contact Lee Bilbrough – lee@purepropertylettings.co.uk – who will be delighted to answer any questions and / or carry out a details, no cost and no obligation, appraisal of your property and tenancy.