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Fresh section 21 eviction changes proposed by government

Landlords will need to be aware of potential changes to section 21 eviction notices announced by the government this week.

Under the plans, which come as part of the Conservative administration's bid to 'overhaul' the private rented sector, section 21 evictions could be abolished completely.

The proposals come hot on the heels of a host of legislative changes over the past five years, including:

* Changes to mortgage interest tax relief
* New Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)
* Ban on tenant fees (from June 2019)
* HMO licensing reforms

What are the current section 21 rules?

Currently, landlords can issue a section 21 notice at the end of a fixed term or periodic tenancy, giving a tenant eight weeks' notice that they wish to regain possession of their property.

Section 21 notices cannot be challenged (easily) by tenants and the government claims they are one of the biggest causes of family homelessness in the UK.

How does this affect section 8 notices?

Should the proposals be ratified, landlords would be forced to use section 8 eviction notices - traditionally only used when a tenant had broken the terms of a tenancy agreement or fallen into rent arrears.

The Conservatives say they will amend section 8 legislation to allow landlords to use the notice to regain possession of a property at the end of a tenancy agreement.

But section 8 notices can be challenged in courts by tenants.

Reaction to the proposals

While the news drew cheers from homelessness charities and the Citizens' Advice Bureau, landlords representatives from the Residential Landlords Association were less impressed.

Policy director David Smith said: "For all the talk of greater security for tenants, that will be nothing if the homes to rent are not there in the first place."

If you have any questions on these changes please speak to your local Martin & Co office.

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