Planning and Housing

15.04.19

New laws to abolish ‘no-fault’ evictions in government overhaul of private rental sector

New proposed laws mean landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants at short notice without a good reason in a government pledge to overhaul the private rental sector.

Housing secretary James Brokenshire has announced the new legislation preventing private landlords from evicting tenants at short notice and without good reason, abolishing “no-fault” evictions and protecting renters from “unethical” landlords.

Theresa May said the current deal, which enables landlords to throw tenants out with eight weeks’ notice without a reason, means millions of responsible tenants can be thrown out with little notice “and often little justification.”

The prime minister said: “This is wrong - today we’re acting by preventing these unfair evictions. Landlords will still be able to end tenancies where they have legitimate reasons to do so, but they will no longer be able to unexpectedly evict families.

“This important step will not only protect tenants from unethical behaviour, but also give them the long-term certainty and the peace of mind they deserve.”

Part of a “complete overhaul of the sector,” the new legislation will see Section 21 evictions abolished and require landlords to provide a “concrete, evidenced reason already specified in law” for ending a tenancy.

The government said this will effectively create open-ended tenancies, and ministers said they will amend the Section 8 eviction process to allow property owners to regain their homes in order to sell or move in.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) has “lambasted” the government’s proposal to remove Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions which it called a backstop to overcome other ineffective processes by allowing landlords to regain possession of their property to sell or move into.

Richard Lambert, CEO, said: “England’s model of tenancy was always intended to operate in a sector where Section 21 exists. This change makes the fixed term meaningless, and so creates a new system of indefinite tenancies by the back door.

“The onus is on the government to get this right. It’s entirely dependent on the government’s ability to re-balance the system through Section 8 and court process so that it works for landlords and tenants alike.

“If the government introduces yet another piece of badly thought-out legislation, we guarantee there will be chaos.”

Brokenshire commented: “By abolishing these kinds of evictions, every single person living in the private rented sector will be empowered to make the right housing choice for themselves – not have it made for them.

“And this will be balanced by ensuring responsible landlords can get their property back where they have proper reason to do so.

“We are making the biggest change to the private rental sector in a generation.”

 Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

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