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Changes to Section 21 Notices: What do they mean for Landlords?

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The proposed abolishment of the ‘no fault’ Section 21 Notice has been described as “the biggest shake-up of the private rented sector in 30 years”. The details regarding the proposal have been outlined in the Government’s Fairer Private Rented Sector white paper and the most notable proposal centres around the transition of all tenancies to periodic and therefore simplifying the structures in play.

What is a Section 21?

A Section 21 Notice, commonly known as the ‘no fault’ eviction, is a 2-month notice to the tenant that the Landlord wishes to regain possession of the property. Landlords aren’t obliged to provide a reason for the eviction, hence the term ‘no fault’ was coined. Once the fixed term of the contract has expired, Landlords can serve their tenant with a Section 21 Notice and await vacation. If the tenant fails to vacate the property at the expiry of the notice, there are other avenues available to regain possession.

What are the changes?

The Renters’ Reform Bill first proposed the abolition of the Section 21 Notice, and this has now been confirmed by in the Government’s Fairer Private Rented Sector white paper. The Government’s plan is to transition all tenancies to periodic, which in-turn will create longer tenancies with more stability for its tenants. Tenants will be able to end the tenancy themselves at any time, provided they give the Landlord at least 2 months’ notice. Landlords however will have to provide a valid reason for wanting possession of the property back.

What does this mean for Landlords?

In essence, this change is promoting the interests of the tenant. With the looming housing crisis, paired with the rise in cost of living, the proposals ensure that a tenancy will only cease if a tenant chooses to vacate or if the Landlord has a valid reason for wanting to gain possession of the property. These valid reasons can include but are not limited to rent arrears, Anti-social behaviour, and subletting. The Government has also proposed a strengthening to the grounds for possession under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. Whilst we don’t yet know what measures will be taken to achieve this, the Government has provided encouragement that ‘responsible’ landlords will have the means to successfully regain possession where required.

When will this happen?

The Government haven’t yet provided a date for when these changes will occur. However, we do know that this will occur in two stages, with at least six months’ notice of the dates that they will be implemented, and at least 12 months between those dates. Stage one will begin by transitioning all new tenancies to periodic and these will then be governed by the new rules. Stage two will then merge all existing tenancies to the new regime.

We will provide an update regarding the incoming changes when further information is made available by the Government.