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No-fault evictions set to be banned in England

No-fault evictions set to be banned in England

Renters in England would no longer face evictions at short notice without good reason under new plans outlined by the Government.

The Government will consult on banning Section 21 notices – known as 'no-fault' evictions –which let private landlords evict tenants with two months' notice once their fixed-term contract has ended, without giving a reason.

It says that Section 21 evictions are one of the biggest causes of families being made homeless, and can leave tenants afraid to complain about issues with their homes in case they are asked to leave.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford announced plans to ban Section 21 evictions in Wales last week, while Scotland introduced a new type of tenancy in December 2017, meaning landlords must give an officially-approved reason to evict a tenant.

The news of the consultation comes less than two months before landlords and letting agents will be banned from charging letting fees to tenants, from 1 June.

See our 50+ Renting Tips for more info on your rights as a tenant.

What are Section 21 evictions?

Private landlords can currently use Section 21 notices to evict their tenants if the fixed-term tenancy has ended, or the tenancy is 'periodic', meaning it doesn't have a fixed end date.

Landlords using Section 21 to evict their tenants only need to give two months' notice and don't need to give a reason.

This means tenants can be asked to leave their homes at short notice, even if they have been paying their rent and taking care of the property.

What is the Government proposing?

Under the Government's proposals, landlords in England would no longer be able to use Section 21 notices to evict tenants.

If the proposals go ahead:

  • Landlords will need to give a concrete reason to evict a tenant, (reasons could include a tenant causing damage or being in arrears) and provide evidence of this.

  • Landlords will be able to use different rules if they want to sell or move into their property. Section 8 legislation, which landlords can currently only use if their tenants have broken the terms of the tenancy, will be strengthened to allow landlords to regain the property if they want to move in or sell up. Landlords would need to give their tenants two months' notice in writing.

  • Court processes to evict rule-breaking tenants will be sped up, meaning landlords will be able to regain their properties more quickly if their tenants fall into rent arrears or cause damage.

What does the Government say?

Prime Minister Theresa May said: "Everyone renting in the private sector has the right to feel secure in their home, settled in their community and able to plan for the future with confidence.

"But millions of responsible tenants could still be uprooted by their landlord with little notice, and often little justification.

"This is wrong – and 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 with only eight weeks' notice.

"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."