The Government has introduced a Renters (Reform) Bill which will have the effect of abolishing Section 21 notices commonly relied on by Landlords in the private rental sector. If passed, this will mean that Landlords will no longer be able to use a no-fault route for eviction and would need a legitimate reason to evict their Tenants. 

Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 allows Landlords a method to recover possession of their property by serving a Section 21 Notice on their Tenant. Landlords must provide a minimum of 2 months’ notice and ensure that prescribed documents are provided to Tenants prior to the tenancy in order to validly serve the Section 21 Notice. Despite giving Landlords the flexibility for recovery of their property without any reason, it is said by some that the Section 21 requirements can prove difficult to satisfy or may even be entirely inadequate due to lack of full compliance by Landlords of their obligations in serving the prescribed documentation to their Tenants. This will leave a Landlord’s only option to be possession under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988.

Although it is thought that the abolition will affect the private rental market immensely due to the restrictions imposed on the recovery of property for Landlords, the Bill is set to introduce further provisions into legislation to strengthen the Section 8 route for eviction. The good news for Landlords at present is that the changes are not imminent, and the Bill is still on its journey through parliament. In October 2023, the government announced that there will be further delays in the abolition until the court processes concerning possession proceedings are improved. Of course, it is difficult to put a timeframe on when this may be completed and so for the time being, Landlords can continue relying on Section 21 no fault evictions until the foreseeable future.  

Once Section 21 is eventually abolished, the reformed Section 8 will transition some discretionary grounds into mandatory ones as well as providing new grounds. These will include, but not limited to the following changes:

  • Widening the ground for Landlord and/or family occupation of the property;
  • Landlords intending to sell the property;
  • Changes to the grounds for rent arrears where a tenant has repeatedly been in at least 2 months’ arrears on 3 or more separate occasions;
  • Changes to evictions due to anti-social behaviour so that a landlord will only have to prove capability to cause a nuisance rather than a likelihood to cause. 

Whilst the abolition of Section 21 will give Tenants more security, the Bill ensures that there is a fair balance being struck between the interests of both Landlords and Tenants, providing additional means for Landlords to seek back possession of their property.

At Paul Robinson Solicitors, we offer a full range of services to both Landlords and Tenants in the private rental sector and are here to help with any concerns or queries. You can get in touch with us on our live chat or on 01702 338 338.