The rental sector is heading towards the biggest shake-up it has seen for the last thirty years. The Renters Reform Bill has the aim of improving the lives of those in rented accommodation and provide a fairer rental sector on the whole. One of the most notable changes which the Government is changing is the abolishment of the s.21 notice, or ‘no fault’ evictions.
S.21 Notice Removal
At present, if a Landlord would like to regain possession of their property, a s.21 notice can be served on the Tenant, which provides two months’ notice to the Tenant to vacate the property. However, the abolishment of the s.21 notice process process will now see a tenancy only being able to be brought to an end if the Landlord has a valid ground for regaining possession.
By removing this process, the Government hopes to, not only provide more security for Tenants, but also to empower Tenants to challenge their Landlords where living conditions are poor or where there has been an unjustified rent increase. This is in light of the Citizens Advice Bureau’s findings that a Tenant receiving a s.21 notice was actually five times more likely to have recently made a complaint to their local Council in comparison to Tenants who did not. The aim here is to mitigate concerns a Tenant may have about challenging their tenancy and their Landlord.
Counterbalancing the Change
To recompense the removal of the s.21 notice process, the Government has detailed they will also revamp the grounds for possession for a Landlord in providing more scope and reasons to regain possession of their property.
Some grounds a Landlord can rely upon are mandatory, meaning that the Court must grant an order for possession upon the instigation of Court proceedings under that ground. The remaining grounds for possession are discretionary, meaning if the ground can be demonstrated by the Landlord, the Court may grant an order for possession.
Some key examples of the new proposed grounds for possession are as follows:
- A new ground for possession where a Landlord wishes to sell their property and allow Landlords and close family members to move into a rental property.
- A new mandatory ground for repeated serious rent arrears where a Tenant has been in two months’ rent arrears three times in the preceding three years.
Whilst the Bill looks to provide Tenants with greater security, it also recognises the changing situations for Landlords, and provides further scope and circumstances for the Landlord to regain possession of their property.
These changes are not in force yet, but change is coming. Whilst no dates have been set, the plan is to implement this Bill in two stages:
- Six months’ notice of the first implementation date will be given; after which all new tenancies will be periodic and governed by the new rules.
- All existing tenancies will transition to the new system on a second implementation date. After this point, all Tenants will be protected from Section 21 eviction.
There will be at least twelve months between the first and second dates, outlined within the policy paper for this Bill.
If you are a Landlord or Tenant who would like more information on this new Bill, please do contact our Litigation Department on 01228 522215.
Article written by Jack Hannah