Section 21 to become a thing of the past

Posted Friday 1st July 2022

Following its promise in the Conservative Manifesto 2019, on 16 June 2022, the Government published its white paper, “A fairer private rented sector”. The proposals introduce a number of reforms, one being the abolition of s21 Notices (also known as ‘no-fault’ evictions).

tenant moving

Currently, landlords are able to serve s21 Notices on their tenants to recover possession of their property without having to justify any ground(s) for eviction.

It is the Government’s view that s21 Notices disproportionately and negatively impact tenants and their ability to rely on safe and secure housing, as well as having a detrimental effect on the tenants’ wellbeing. The Government’s measure to ban s21 Notices is being introduced in order to deliver what the Government believe will be a simpler, more secure tenancy structure that will move tenants from assured shorthold tenancy agreements to a single system of periodic tenancies.

The reforms mean that landlords will only be able to evict tenants in limited circumstances. These include:

  • If a landlord wishes to sell their property; and
  • If a landlord wants to move close family members into the property.

Landlords will not be able to rely on either of these grounds in the first six months of a tenancy.

Whilst a landlord’s ability to recover possession of a property will be limited, there will be a new mandatory ground for possession in circumstances where a tenant is repeatedly in arrears of rent. This ground for possession can be relied on if a tenant has been in arrears for at least two months on three occasions within three years.

The Government has indicated that it will introduce the Renters Reform Bill in the 2022-2023 parliamentary session. Once the Bill receives royal assent, the reforms will be introduced in two stages (with the implementation dates to be confirmed). The Government will provide 6 months’ notice prior to the first implementation date. After the first implementation date, all new tenancies will be governed under the new legislation and will be periodic. Following the second implementation date (12 months after the first), all existing tenancies will transition to periodic tenancies and tenants will be fully protected against s21 Notices.

As always, the devil is in the detail. It is not yet clear how the limited grounds for possession under the reforms will work in practice but some landlords may wish to take steps now to recover their property under the current regime before the Bill comes into effect.

Further details concerning the introduction and enforcement of the new legislation are anticipated shortly. Please get in touch with the Property Litigation department if you have any questions, concerns or require advice on the effects of this legislation.

This article is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action.

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