Student Spotlight: Section 21 – The Impact Of No Fault Evictions Ban

An overview

On Monday April 15th 2019 it was announced that landlords will no longer be able to evict their tenants without a legitimate legal reason. This could mean victory for many of the country’s renters. The government have announced that they plan to end section 21 evictions (a way for landlords to ask their tenants to vacate their property without any reason at all).

Essentially, section 21 gives landlords the option to evict through an 8 week notice which is to be given to their tenants towards the end of their rental agreement. Whilst this is huge victory for tenants, and as campaigners have said ‘it will prevent rogue landlords abusing the system’, this will inevitably have a huge impact on landlords too.[1]

How will this effect tenants?

The government have been said to announce these changes in the hope that renters will have more protection from being evicted without reason and also to provide them with more long-term security. What this vital change in law will mean is that landlords will have little choice but to use the normal section 8 route if they wish to evict a tenant.

Through section 8, landlords must apply for a court order to be able to evict anyone from their property. However, this method has been less favoured by landlords as they are more easily rejected and inevitably take longer than going through the section 21 route.

These plans are also set to be introduced in Wales and have already been introduced in Scotland back in 2017. Figures show that this victory plan for change will help 11 million UK renters.[2]

How will this effect current rent prices?

Inevitably, any new changes to law always encourages much debate. It has been suggested that landlords may try to ‘seek revenge’ in a way by hiking up rent prices. This way if they can’t evict through section 21, they can ‘drive out’ tenants by giving them astronomical rent charges.

The National Landlords Association have also spoken and have argued that the reason for the increase in the use of section 21 evictions is simply because they had reduced confidence in the courts to get through the process effectively. Although, Housing Secretary James Brokenshire hopes that the new changes will help to create a fairer system for all.

Currently, there is no talk of how this will impact in particular on rent prices, however the government are confident that the new system will ensure security for tenants. Hopefully, that should instil some confidence in renters.

How will this effect Landlords?

Well at this stage it is unclear as to how these changes will be implemented, however it has been said that with the proposed abolishment of section 21, court proceedings will be accelerated if landlords are seeking eviction of their tenants for rent arrears or other serious breaches of tenancy. Although the changes to section 21 seem unfair for landlords, it appears somewhat clear that the government are trying to create a fairer system for both tenants and landlords.

With that being said, perhaps landlords ought not to fear. These changes are simply trying to stop the “rogue” landlords from evicting tenants whenever they like. It does seem clear that such plans are to ensure both landlords and tenants ‘know where they stand’ so to speak. Tenants will have a good legal reason as to why they are being evicted and by landlords following the proposed procedures, they will be ensuring they are being fair.

Hopefully in the future this encourages more people to invest in properties as figures do show leases are the most popular choice of ownership in land today.

What have the Government said?

Well Housing Secretary – James Brokenshire suggests that there is evidence to say that these section 21 evictions are one of the biggest causes of homelessness in the UK. Brokenshire believes that this important change in law would help to change this, offering much more stability for renters. Theresa May herself is said to be backing these plans and agrees on the severe damage they have caused.

Although to the UK’s Landlords these proposed changes may seem vastly unfair, the Housing Secretary has said that the abolishment of section 21 evictions will be balanced by the ability to evict with good legal reason. These changes do not take away the ability for landlords to evict tenants, it does however withdraw the ability for them to evict without a good solid reason. Privately rented homes have soared and so the government hope that these changes will ensure current and new tenants will be protected and encourage others to invest in new homes.[3]

So, what are the future plans?

These plans were announced by MP’s on Monday April 15 and so unfortunately there is no evidence of any concrete plans in the proposed changes. Whilst we know little at this stage about how and when these changes are set to come into force, we do know however that the government plan is to completely abolish section 21 evictions.

These plans have been backed by both Prime Minister – Theresa May and Housing Secretary – James Brokenshire, who have spoken out about the proposed changes.

The government are hoping to get vast public support for these proposals, which could in turn see new law in place by the end of 2019. However, at this stage there have been no further announcements. It is very clear that this is an important matter to be addressed, as well as I would say the law governing landlords and tenants as a whole.[4]





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