The Government has announced today (15 April) that it proposes to abolish Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, the provision which enables landlords of residential property to evict their tenants for any reason on only 2 months’ notice.
The intention is to end ‘unfair’ evictions, resulting in private renters having more security, and (subject to a few limited reasons) landlords will only be able to recover possession if there is a breach of the tenancy.
It’s not yet clear when these changes will be implemented. Communities Secretary James Brokenshire has indicated that a consultation will take place on the proposals first.
It’s hoped the Section 21 changes will be counter-balanced with accelerating the Section 8 possession process, as it seems landlords currently have little confidence in the courts’ ability to deal with possession claims quickly and efficiently.
Today’s announcement is another step in the Government’s campaign to stamp out rogue landlords and provide tenants in the private rented sector with greater protection. However, it also means that ‘good’ landlords could lose the ability to get their properties back easily at short notice for personal reasons, for example because they wish to sell with vacant possession.
On a general note, the Government has recently published new guidance on the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in the private rented sector, supplementing its existing guidance on how to rent and how to let residential property. You can read the new guidance here.