Campaigners have welcomed the move to protect renters, while critics claim the changes will make life harder for landlords.
Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith Friday 10 May 2019 10:58 BST
The legislation currently allows landlords to evict tenants at short notice and with no reason. Campaigners have welcomed the change that is designed to better protect private renters, while critics claim the move will make it harder for landlords to remove problem tenants through the “inefficient” court process.
Tenants must be given at least eight weeks’ notice under Section 21, and those on a periodic tenancy have to be given any additional time that may be covered by their final rent payment, too.
The notice is often used by landlords to remove tenants from a property to either allow them to sell the home or move into it, though campaigners claim the fear of eviction discourages tenants from complaining about issues with a property or poor conditions.
Research by Citizens Advice last year suggests tenants who made a formal complaint about a property had a 46 per cent chance of being evicted from it within six months, while the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said evidence shows that ending tenancies through Section 21 is one of the biggest causes of family homelessness.
What changes to Section 21 is the Government proposing?
Last month the Prime Minister set out plans to end the practice of “no-fault evictions” in England by abolishing Section 21, which means landlords will need a good reason to evict tenants.
The changes are intended to create greater certainty and security for renters, and will effectively create open-ended tenancies.
Similar plans for Wales have been announced by First Minister Mark Drakeford, while Scotland introduced new rules two years ago requiring landlords to provide reasons for ending a tenancy.
How will section 21 changes affect landlords?
In what has been described as the biggest change in the private rental sector for a generation, landlords will now have to provide a concrete, evidenced reason for evicting a tenant that is already specified in law.
Critics of the move claim this will make it harder for landlords to evict renters who are in breach of their tenancy agreement.
What is a Section 21 notice?
A Section 21 notice allows a landlord to evict a tenant without giving a reason. This section of the 1988 Housing Act can be used to serve an eviction notice either after a fixed term tenancy has ended — where there is a written contract — or during periodic tenancy, where there is no fixed end date.