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No Fault Evictions to be Abolished

The Government has announced that they will introduce legislation to prevent “no fault” evictions.

Under the legislation private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants at the end of their tenancy agreements without providing adequate legal reasons and longer notice.

The intention is to make tenancies longer than the current 6, or 12 months’ contracts.

The Government intends to consult on new legislation to abolish Section 21 Evictions.  Under the current system provided that tenants are correctly served with Section 21 Notices landlords can evict tenants with only 8 weeks notice when the tenancy agreement comes to an end.   Under the new legislation, landlords will have to provide specific reasons that are already set out in the existing Housing Act legislation to end the tenancy.

The Government claims that they are acting to prevent landlords for ending tenancies without legitimate reasons.  The intention of the Government is to end victimisation of tenants by unethical landlords in situations, for example, where the tenants have complained about breaches of the Lease including the poor condition of the property, of that the property is in disrepair.

Although the proposals have been welcomed by Housing Organisations and Charities such as Shelter, nevertheless it will be important for the Government to ensure that their reforms are properly set out so that they do not prevent landlords from re-possessing properties where there are legitimate reasons, such as rent arrears or tenant anti-social behaviour, or where the landlord wishes to sell the property.  Unless the legislation protects the rights of landlords to recover possession of their properties, for legitimate reasons, it is somewhat premature to abolish Section 21 Notices.

It also needs to be considered by the Government that if the legislation is seen to be draconian, in terms of its effects on landlords rights to obtain possession of their properties, this may reduce the number of privately rented homes with a knock on effect that tenants are adversely affected by a shortage of suitable properties to rent.

For the time being landlords will continue to use Section 21 Notices to recover possession of the properties.   However, where a tenant does not leave the property at the expiration of the Section 21 Notice, the landlord must obtain a possession order from the County Court even though the Section 21 Notice has been correctly served on the tenant giving the appropriate amount of notice.

Ending tenancy agreements either with, or without, the use of Section 21 Notices can be a complex and difficult process for landlords who do not have sufficient experience of possession proceedings.   A tenant’s application to the Court to defend a landlord’s claim can take months to resolve and can cost the landlord a considerable amount in respect of costs and lost rent.   If the tenant alleges housing disrepair, or failure to follow the correct procedure by the landlord, the proceedings can be expensive and time consuming to reach a successful conclusion.

Robert Anderson and Ram Saroop at RDC Solicitors have many years experience acting on behalf of both landlords and tenants concerning Housing Act rental disputes.  In the event that you require advice concerning any housing matter involving a private tenancy agreement, we will be pleased to provide assistance.   Please contact Robert Anderson on 01274 723858, or Ram Saroop on 01274 735511.

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