The Renters’ Reform Bill and the end of “no fault eviction”
As widely anticipated the Queen’s Speech has announced the imminent arrival of the Renters’ Reform Bill (the Bill), which will remove the ability of private landlords to recover their property in the absence of rent arrears or some other breach of the tenancy.
Section 21 notices and the Renters’ Reform Bill
At the moment, a landlord can serve a two-month, section 21 notice ending a tenancy without giving any reason or justification for bringing the agreement to an end. If there is a breach, a section 8 notice can be served but this process is risky and costly and will normally end up with court proceedings. The section 21 route offers a relatively cost effective and speedy way to remove a tenant from a property.
Whilst the proposals find favour with tenants, providing them with added security, they will cause a degree of consternation for landlords who, faced with a generally pro-tenant court system and unenviable waits for court hearings (it can take up to a year in some cases to evict a tenant for a breach) rely upon section 21 notices as a relatively quick and efficient way to recover a property, even where there is a breach and other options are available.
Removing the option of a no-fault process will frustrate a lot of landlords. Once the cut-off point for section 21 notices is known, it would be unsurprising if there was not a rush to issue notices simply to avoid the alternative. The alternative may be to face the uncertainty as to whether they will be able to get their property back without a breach arising.
The detail will come out when the bill is published but the time when tenants were allowed to continue occupying at the end of the fixed term of tenancy are likely to diminish, with landlords keen to ensure that any tenant is only in the property for a finite period before being required to enter a new agreement.
The Bill also proposes a reform of the grounds on which landlords can recover possession for a breach and the hope is that these changes will tackle the delays currently experienced but what is certain, is that for landlords the future looks less certain, and it will be key that landlords ensure that their agreements and procedures are as tight as possible to avoid the need to rely on any notice to remove a tenant.
Specialist legal advice for landlords
If you wish to discuss any of the issues mentioned in this article or any issues with your tenants, please contact Richard Gore (email@example.com) or Holly Snook (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call 0117 906 9400 . Alternatively, please complete our contact form.