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August 7

by Millie Wickens
The banning of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions moves closer

Proposed new laws may mean landlords cannot sell a rented home for two years after a tenant moves in. In a comprehensive 75-page consultation paper quizzing property professionals about what should go in to a new deal for tenants, outgoing Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire outlined proposals to abolish Section 21 no fault evictions for landlords.

Brokenshire wants to retain current grounds for eviction and to add new grounds if landlords want to sell the home or to move in – extending the right to close family.

He also believes assured shorthold tenancies would fall out of use with the demise of Section 21 in favour of new rolling tenancy agreements by default, although a landlord and tenant could agree a fixed term contract instead.

“Many landlords have the unilateral power to evict a tenant from their home without reason,” says the consultation paper.

“This creates an unequal dynamic that undermines the relationship between landlords and tenants, and potentially erodes trust between the two parties. Landlords who evict tenants for rent arrears or anti-social behaviour using a ‘no fault’ ground mask valid reasons for eviction, which fuels a culture of mistrust and uncertainty.

“The ability to use Section 21 rests in the assured shorthold tenancies regime. The government is of the view that, with Section 21 removed, the assured shorthold regime no longer serves a practical purpose.”

Controversial rent controls are also dismissed in the consultation.

“The government does not support the introduction of rent controls to set the level of rent at the outset of a tenancy,” says the report.

“Historical evidence suggests that these would discourage investment in the sector, and would lead to declining property standards as a result, which would not help landlords or tenants.”

Read the full consultation document

The deadline for responses is October 12, 2019.

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