No to No Fault Evictions
On 15 April 2019 the Government announced that, following proposed legislation, “Private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants from their homes at short notice and without good reason.” Over three years on, this has not yet been made law and, in fact, this type of eviction has been increasing. This year the potential number of ‘no fault’ evictions has jumped by 76% in the period between April and June when compared with the same period last year.
In October 2022, during oral questioning, Simon Clarke, Secretary of State at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said, “I can confirm that we will introduce the Rental Reform Bill in the course of this Parliament.” Within this bill is the much anticipated end to no fault evictions.
On 7 December 2022 the Government began a 7 week consultation seeking views on the removal of no fault evictions.
What are no fault evictions?
The formal name for no fault evictions are Section 21 evictions. This is because they are done under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. Section 21 evictions are also known as no fault evictions. To be evicted under section 21, the tenant does not have to do anything wrong and the landlord does not have to give any reasons for the eviction.
Providing certain conditions are met, a private landlord can issue a section 21 notice giving the tenant 2 months’ notice to leave the property. Once the notice period has ended, the landlord can apply to the court for a possession order and subsequently a warrant for eviction. Bailiff’s can then attend the property and evict the tenant.
The landlord cannot force a tenant to leave the property until they have a warrant for eviction. This is important for tenants to bear in mind as, if they leave the property before the warrant for eviction is granted and the bailiff’s remove them from the property, they may be found to be voluntarily homeless making it harder for them to secure housing from the council.
Why would a landlord do this?
Sometimes a landlord may wish to sell the property or reside in the property themselves.
However, landlords sometimes issue a section 21 notice when tenants fairly complain about issues in the property. These types of evictions are sometimes referred to as ‘revenge evictions’.
Why is this an issue?
Section 21 evictions have been criticised as a landlord can evict a tenant with little notice and without any fault on the part of the tenant.
It means that some tenants are reluctant to report issues with housing conditions or request repairs, as they are worried that the landlord may evict them.
It has been said that section 21 evictions are the second leading trigger of homelessness. Tenants evicted from properties sometimes struggle to secure alternative housing and are then left homeless.
This often leaves evicted tenants relying on the council for housing. However, since the introduction of ‘the right to buy’ in the 1980’s the number of council houses has greatly declined. In addition less social housing is being built. This has contributed to what has been referred to as the social housing deficit.
This means that there are not enough social houses for all of those who need them and the number of people homeless or living in temporary accommodation is increasing.
The end of section 21 evictions
The end of section 21 evictions would see greater security for tenants.
Landlords would still be able to evict tenants under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 if the tenant breaks the terms of the tenancy agreement for example by failing to pay rent, damaging the property or antisocial behaviour.
The official 2021-2022 homelessness report states that 144,670 households were assessed as homeless in the period between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022. The end of section 21 evictions is a step towards reducing these figures and we hope to see this change soon!