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Shock abolition of Section 21 Notices

The Government has announced its plans to abolish the Section 21 eviction process otherwise known as the ‘no fault eviction’. This poses the obvious question of whether in fact, Housing law is moving towards a more tenant friendly approach and whether this will be the potential solution for the leading cause of homelessness in England.

Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire has described the significant plan as the “biggest change to the private rental sector in a generation” whilst PM Theresa May has confirmed that such a change will ensure that tenants will be protected from “unethical behaviour” and give them the “long-term certainty and the peace of mind they deserve”.

Unsurprisingly, such planned abolition has been described as ‘devastating’ for private sector landlords and letting agents. Whilst it is recognised that Section 21 notices are not required in many cases, often a landlord will evict tenants from properties using this method with a mere eight weeks’ notice with little regard to a tenant’s circumstances, vulnerability or future plans.

PM Theresa May further comments that with such action, albeit described as drastic by private sector landlords, we will prevent unfair evictions. Organisations such as Shelter, who assist countless individuals facing eviction or homelessness, have commented on this change as “an outstanding victory”.

Moving forward, landlords seeking to evict tenants will have to revert to use the Section 8 process which can be used in the following instances;

  •  Accrual of rent arrears
  • Criminal or antisocial behaviour
  • Breach of Tenancy Agreement i.e. damage to the property

However, as part of this ‘complete overhaul of the sector’, proceedings pursuant to the Section 8 notice and Housing Act 1988 Schedule 2 grounds of possession will also be reviewed as part of the consultation.

On 8th March 2019, the Labour Party outlined their thoughts on such private tenancies and confirmed that “people shouldn’t be living in fear of losing their homes” and that “renters deserve better”; (John Healy MP, Labour Shadow’s Housing Secretary). It is therefore now clear that there is consensus between the parties to implement a policy to abolish the Section 21 Notice. This will undoubtedly move the law in such direction to protect tenants from the invaluable right to their home.