How will the changes in the Section 21 Notice affect you?

Catherine Green, Director and Civil and Commercial Disputes Solicitor at WSP Solicitors Stroud

A Nation of Renters

Britain is fast becoming a nation of renters. Recent changes to the rental market have been dominating the news and creating new implications for tenants and landlords alike. Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that households in the private rented sector in the UK has risen to 63%. This equates to around 4.5 million households.

Abolishing Section 21

The Government have recently announced plans of their intention to abolish section 21 notices for private residential evictions. Under the current law, a section 21 notice allows a landlord to evict a tenant at the end of their tenancy without reason by giving at least 2 months’ notice. The process is sometimes referred to as ‘non-fault’ eviction. Whilst there may be good reason for this, for example, if the landlord wishes to move back into the property, it offers little long term certainty to tenants.

It is important to note however, that you can only receive a section 21 notice if you have an assured shorthold tenancy. This type of tenancy is usually for a period of 6 or 12 months. Once served with a section 21 notice, if the tenant does not leave within two months, the landlord can then apply for a possession order from the court.

What’s changing?

The changes which the Government intend to introduce will mean that, if landlords want to regain possession of a property, they will need to use the Section 8 process. This is a process which allows landlords to seek possession under certain grounds, mainly where the tenant has breached the tenancy agreement.

The planned revision to the law is good news for tenants in that they will have far greater certainty in their home. The change aims to protect tenants from ‘unethical behaviour’ and for tenants to live without the fear of losing their homes at relatively short notice. However, the changes will not be retrospective, and so existing tenancies will not be affected.

What will this mean for landlords?

Despite this, the Government will need to seek a balance to the proposed legislation so that it is not overly detrimental to landlords. Landlords have been assured that the proposed revision to the law will instead strengthen the Section 8 process and maintain the right of a landlord to sell with vacant possession. The proposals include a new court system to ensure a landlord can more swiftly gain repossession but only in legitimate cases. Landlords will need to provide evidence of the reasons, for example, where a tenant is in arrears or evidence of anti-social behaviour.

A tenant friendly approach

Overall, it appears there will be greater protection for tenants and a move towards a more ‘tenant friendly’ approach, as a landlord will have to give reasons for evicting a tenant. It is important to note that no change in the law has taken place yet and landlords can continue to serve section 21 notices.

Contact us

For advice regarding landlord and tenant disputes please contact our Litigation Director Catherine Green on 01453 847200 or email catherinegreen@wspsolicitors.com

Back to News and Events

Share: