“The end of ‘no-fault’ evictions” – what does it mean?

The Queen’s Speech on 11 May 2022 stated that the much-awaited Renters Reform Bill will be introduced during the next parliamentary session. This Bill is expected to bring about a significant change in the relationship between tenants and landlords by getting rid of Section 21 evictions.

The proposed amendment to the Housing Act 1988 will provide much-needed security for private tenants and tenants of Registered Providers across the country. Under the current system, tenants can be evicted for merely challenging unfair practices by their landlords, which has been a major issue in the private sector for a long time.

To ensure that landlords’ possession rights are not unprotected, the Bill will also seek to reform and strengthen those rights, especially in cases of severe antisocial behaviour. Landlords have long relied on Section 21 as a ‘no-fault’ eviction tool to ensure that properties can be returned where necessary, and the Bill will address their concerns.

The abolition of Section 21 means that landlords are no longer guaranteed a possession order and must instead provide evidence of specific grounds for seeking possession, as outlined in Section 8 of the HA 1988. Furthermore, discretionary grounds for possession can be subject to additional proportionality requirements, and the Court could give a tenant one last chance using a suspended possession order.

The impact of the Renters Reform Bill on the tenant/landlord relationship is yet to be seen, but the changes outlined in the Bill will provide a much-needed shift in the balance of power.

The repeal of Section 21 has been a topic of much debate, as it will significantly affect how landlords approach tenancy agreements. Landlords are understandably concerned about the repeal’s impact on their tenancies.

The repeal of Section 21 means that landlords can no longer pursue no-fault possession proceedings when seeking to end a tenancy. Instead, they will have to use Section 8, which comes with challenges – including the additional time, costs, and evidential burden in seeking possession.

In response, the government has promised to strengthen the existing Section 8 grounds for possession, including introducing more substantial grounds for repeated rent arrears and reducing antisocial behaviour notice periods. This is a welcome move, as the current cost of living crisis has made it increasingly difficult for landlords to manage rent arrears.

The government has also promised to make the court process for Section 8 proceedings more efficient and quicker for landlords. However, this will depend on the courts’ funding level, as they are currently facing an ever-increasing backlog.

Proposals are being put forward for circumstances where no-fault possession could be retained. For example, the National Housing Federation has suggested that registered providers should be able to pursue no-fault possession of supported housing and temporary accommodation. This would ensure that landlords are not discouraged from providing these services due to the higher risk of repealing Section 21.

Ultimately, the repeal of Section 21 will have a significant impact on landlords. While the government has promised to make the court process more efficient, landlords will still need to be aware of the additional costs and evidential burden associated with Section 8 proceedings.


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