The Government has outlined plans to consult on new legislation to abolish Section 21 evictions in England. Similar plans have also been announced for Wales.
Under the current law in England, landlords can evict tenants (giving them eight weeks’ notice) at any time after the fixed-term contract has come to an end, without specifying a reason. This procedure is known as a s21 eviction procedure and is often referred to as a ‘no-fault eviction’.
If this procedure is abolished, landlords would need to rely on the Section 8 eviction procedure (under which landlords need a legitimate reason) to seek possession of a property. This is seen by many as being a costly and lengthy procedure which can take an average of 22 weeks to resolve.
Along with the abolishment of the Section 21 eviction procedure, the Government has announced an intention to amend the Section 8 eviction procedure to allow for a landlord to regain possession of a property where they wish to sell it or move into it.
The Government has also promised extra resources and changes to the court process to ensure that cases are expedited and run smoothly through the courts.
The Government’s aim is to protect tenants; the official press release stated that the Section 21 eviction procedure is one of the biggest causes of family homelessness. With more than four million people in private rented accommodation, the Government argue that more needs to be done to ensure that tenants have greater certainty and security in the housing market.
There is concern that the Government’s proposals will result in renting being more expensive as landlords face increasingly costly eviction procedures, or as a result of a decrease in supply if landlords cease renting out their properties altogether. There is also speculation that landlords may prefer to rent out their properties as holiday lets.
No dates have yet been announced for the consultation. In the meantime, the current Section 21 procedure can still be used.
As a landlord, what impact would the abolishment of the Section 21 eviction procedure have on your business? Your comments are, as ever, welcome!