The government plans to repeal Section 21 of the Housing Act (1988), which allows landlords to evict tenants at the end of their fixed-term, and put an end to ‘no-fault’ evictions.
The change in the law would, the government said, “protect tenants from having to make frequent and short notice moves, and will enable them to plan for the future.”
Generation Rent, which campaigns for tenants’ rights, said no fault evictions were the leading cause of rising homelessness in England.
Under the government’s plans, however, court proceedings will be sped up to help landlords evict tenants who fall behind with their rent or behave anti-socially.
‘Stability really matters’
Housing secretary James Brokenshire said the change in the law was in part driven by the increase in the number of families with children and older people living in rented accommodation.
Speaking on BBC’s Today programme, Brokenshire said: “Having stability really matters (to them) and so there’s no inhibition on making a complaint.”
He added that under Section 21 tenants may have been “concerned through a no-fault eviction that they may be thrown out.”
Landlords need confidence
The government said it was committed to “increasing security for tenants in the private rented sector while balancing landlords’ needs to regain their properties when their circumstances change.”
It will launch a consultation on the details of a better system, with particular focus on the benefits and barriers of landlords offering longer tenancies.
Landlords’ representatives, and mortgage industry figures working in the buy to let market, have been critical of the government’s plans.
David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, said: “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. This needs to happen before any moves are made to end Section 21.”
“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. We call on the government to act with caution.”
David Cox, CEO of ARLA Propertymark, responded to the news: “This could be devastating for the private rented sector and landlords operating within it. The effects of the tenant fees ban have not yet been felt, and now the government is introducing more new legislation which could 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 for Section 8, today’s 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.”