The Government published its ‘A Fairer Private Rented Sector’ White Paper, which sets out the reformation of the private rented sector. Within that bill it proposes the biggest changes to the sector in more than 30 years. One of which is to:
Abolish Section 21 and introduce new possession grounds for landlords.
Section 21 is the means to evict on a “no-fault” basis providing two months’ notice is served on the tenant(s). However many, perhaps mistakenly, have depended on s21 when a tenant is at fault of some breach of contract. This has encompassed the feeling that the Renters Reform Bill would make it harder to evict a wrongdoing tenant.
Although a Landlord’s strongest hand, Section 8, is not going anywhere. That is, when renters are at fault of breaching a condition of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). S8 notices range from immoral and illegal uses of a property, to causing a nuisance and non-payment of rent and are not exhaustive of these. The notice, when applicable, has a starting point of 24 hours up to 2 weeks and, if necessary, acts as a fast track to a court possession order. These timeframes are subject to the breach that is being considered.
The new possession grounds being considered are really a way to keep a means of “no-fault” eviction. That is, either if the landlord wants to sell the property or the Landlord and/or a member of the Landlords family would like to move into the property. The latter seems to be an oversight, because any landlord with a mortgage would know; it is a condition of any Buy to Let (BTL) mortgage not to live in or rent the property to a family member. Therefore, this ground could be used legally but the Landlord would be in breach of their mortgage. It could be used as a ground but upon the property becoming empty the Landlord or any family member did not move into the vacant property. There is no mention of any monitoring or penalty for a Landlord who would use this ground and then not follow through. For the minority, with a residential mortgage with consent to let this new ground makes sense and works.
At Nsoa Property Management it is unheard of to want to evict a good tenant. When breaches do occur we have the knowledge to enforce the s8 notice to save time and money and make the process as easy as possible. From what has been mentioned in the Renters Reform Bill we are not concerned. We are passionate about providing lovely homes for tenants who qualify for them. If a landlord did want to sell up, we would swiftly relocate those tenants in another of our homes for rent.
To summarise, the abolishment of s21 as suggested in the Renters Reform Bill doesn’t really make any difference. Landlords don’t tend to live in their BTLs nor do their family members. If they want to sell up, the government have already thought up new possession grounds. S8 is still in force in the event of any breach and as such is the fastest means to evict. For property owners who are not trying to be professional Landlords, and who have been granted consent to let, they can move back into their home when there are no grounds to use the s8 notice. In the end, no decision has been made and any reform is unlikely to finalise until mid-2024. Most importantly, it does not appear to adversely affect Landlords or the process to evict wrongdoing renters but rightfully so would prevent those Landlords who abuse s21 to remove renters who have genuine complaints about substandard living conditions.