Government plans to ban no-fault evictions
Charities welcome proposal but landlords warn it risks supply issue
No-fault evictions could be axed as the government announces proposals to stop tenants from being “uprooted by their landlord with little notice”.
A government consultation is exploring how to bring about the significant reform that would mean private landlords would no longer be able to evict tenants using Section 21 notices.
Shelter described the news as “an outstanding victory” for renters and the Citizens Advice said the proposed change was a “groundbreaking shake-up”. Acorn, a renters' union, said the reform should not be seen as “a gift from a benevolent government” but the result of a long-fought campaign.
However, the the Residential Landlords Association was less impressed, warning that the change might deter landlords from investing in housing, meaning “a potential risk in supply which will impact the poor in society more than anyone else”.
Most tenancy agreements are rolling contracts with six-month break clauses and the no-fault process allows private landlords to force a tenant to leave once they are out of contract without having to give any reason and with just a two-month warning.
The Guardian says the planned reforms would effectively create “open-ended tenancies” and give tenants more reassurance that they will not face “snap evictions” if they complain about their accommodation.
Landlords seeking to evict tenants would have to use the Section 8 process, which can be applied when a tenant has fallen into rent arrears, involved in criminal or antisocial behaviour or has broken terms of the rent agreement. Unlike Section 21, tenants can legally challenge Section 8 evictions.
Announcing the government proposals, Theresa May said: “Millions of responsible tenants could still be uprooted by their landlord with little notice, and often little justification” adding that “this is wrong”
She added: “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.”
More than four million households – around 11m people - are now in privately rented accommodation in England.
A recent study found that tenants who made an official complaint about their landlord or their rented home had a 46% chance of being issued with a Section 21 eviction notice in the following six months.
A renter called Kirsty told Sky News that she was issued with such a notice because, she suspects, she reported a problem with her shower and a communal door.
She said: “It was absolutely devastating. After making this our home, paying our rent on time, it was just so upsetting. We'd made this our home and for someone to turn your world upside down like that, it just feels so unfair."
Alicia Powell and her boyfriend told the BBC they were evicted for complaining about a roof leak in their north London flat.