Plans to stop landlords evicting tenants at short notice and without good reason have taken a step further to becoming reality.
The government announced it’ll consult on the measures, saying that anyone who rents has ‘a right to feel secure’ in their home.
It means landlords will no longer be able to serve Section 21 notices, giving tenants as little as eight weeks’ notice once their fixed-term contract comes to an end.
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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 landlords 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.”
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The proposals would mean that landlords would have to provide a ‘concrete, evidenced reason’ for ending the tenancy.
The government said property owners would still be able to regain their home should they wish to sell it or move into it.
Risk of reducing the number of available rental homes
But landlords have warned that the proposed reforms could lead to a reduction in the supply of rental properties amid fears that they would effectively create open-ended tenancies.
David Cox, Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark, said the new legislation would deter landlords from operating in the market.
“Although in the majority of cases, there is no need for Section 21 to be used, there are times when a landlord has no choice but to take action and evict tenants from a property.
“Until we have greater clarity on the changes planned, this news will only increase pressure on the sector and discourage new landlords from investing in buy-to-let properties. This comes at a time when demand is dramatically outpacing supply and rent costs are rising.”
Need for landlords to have confidence to invest
And David Smith, from the Residential Landlords Association, added: “With the demand for private rented homes continuing to increase, we need the majority of good landlords to have confidence to invest in new homes.
“This means ensuring they can swiftly repossess properties for legitimate reasons such as rent arrears, tenant anti-social behaviour or wanting to sell them.
“For all the talk of greater security for tenants, that will be nothing if the homes to rent are not there in the first place.”
Need to make the court process more efficient
A Ministry of Housing spokesman said: “Court processes will also be expedited so landlords are able to swiftly and smoothly regain their property in the rare event of tenants falling into rent arrears or damaging the property – meaning landlords have the security of knowing disputes will be resolved quickly.”
However, Tamara Hooper, of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said: “As it currently stands the court process through which landlords can evict troublesome tenants aside from the Section 21 no fault eviction is far from functioning and there are currently long delays in accessing the courts and bailiffs to remove tenants through this pathway.
“In addition to the Government’s announcement to remove Section 21, this should have been looked at more closely.”
If you’ve evicted a tenant using a Section 21 notice, let us know about your experience in the comments below.