This morning Housing Campaigners have announced a ground-breaking shift to the rights of tenants after the government announced an end to “no-fault” evictions.
Right to evict
Currently, landlords can evict tenants with eight weeks’ notice after a fixed-term contract has ended. The government will consult on abolishing section 21 evictions in England meaning that private landlords could no longer evict tenants on short notice and without good reason. This, in effect, will make tenancies open ended, as they are in German and several other European countries. Scotland also introduced similar changes two years ago.
Under current market regulations, most rented homes are let under an assured shorthold tenancy for a fixed term – often six months or a year. When the term ends, the landlord may evict the tenant without giving a reason provided they provide two months’ notice. Ministers will announce today that they will begin a consultation before the summer on abolishing such evictions.
Prime Minister’s Statement
In the Prime Minister’s announcement, Theresa May said that tenants should have the right to feel secure in their home, within their community and able to plan for their future with confidence. “Millions of responsible tenants could still be uprooted by their landlord with little notice, and often little justification,” she said.
“This is wrong – and today we’re acting by preventing these unfair evictions. This important step will not only protect tenants from unethical behaviour, but also give them the long-term certainty and the peace of mind they deserve.”Theresa May, 15 April 2019
What others think:
Shelter have marked these changes as “an outstanding victory” for renters and will create pen-ended tenancies and give tenants more reassurance that they will to face snap evictions if they make complaints about their accommodation.
Under the proposals, landlord’s looking to evict tenants would still be able to use section 8 – used when a tenant has fallen into rent arrears, has been involved in criminal or antisocial behaviour, or has broken terms of the rent agreement, such as damaging the Property.
Ministers have said that they will amend the section 8 process to allow it to be used by landlords if they want to sell the Property or move back in themselves, however, tenants can challenge section 8 evictions in court.
Landlords have been noticeably angry stating that the loss of section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions will mean that landlords will have no option but to face lengthy delays if they wish to evict tenants. Buy-to-let lenders are also likely to review the proposed changes, with some less likely to lend if landlords are unable to evict unruly tenants.
Labour have been quick to note that the government’s procedures will do very little to protect against landlords forcing tenants out by steal through increasing rent. Labour have called for new rights and protections across the board to end costly rent increases and substandard homes as well as to stop unfair evictions.