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The government have announced plans over the weekend of its intention to abolish section 21 notices for private residential evictions. Theresa May have said that the aim of this is to protect tenants from “unethical behaviour” and to “give them the long term certainty and the peace of mind they deserve.”

A section 21 notice allows a landlord to evict a tenant without reason at the end of their tenancy by giving at least 2 months’ notice. The process is often referred to as a “non-fault” eviction. After the notice expires, the landlord must apply to the court for a possession order.

There is currently another route for landlords during the fixed term or outside the fixed term where the tenant is at fault. This is to serve a section 8 notice followed by court proceedings. Certain reasons must be cited for seeking possession. Some of the reasons cited mean it is at the judge’s discretion as to whether possession is given. This is a risky procedure for landlords and often more costly. This means landlords often use the section 21 procedure when the tenant is at fault i.e. due to rent arrears or anti-social behaviour because the process is less risky.

The proposals include a new court system to ensure a landlord can have a more speedy repossession but only in legitimate cases, for example, where the tenant is in arrears or where there are other genuine reasons/problems with the tenant. Landlords will need to provide evidence on the reasons.

The government plans to consult on the new legislation to abolish section 21 notices.

The Residential Landlord’s Association have commented on the planned consultation and warned “there are serious dangers of getting such reforms wrong.”

According to the announcement, Section 8 evictions are also set to be reformed, with a consultation to be announced shortly.

Where does this leave landlords? There will be greater protection for the tenant as a landlord will have to give reasons for evicting a tenant.At present this is only a consultation so there has been no change in the law yet. Landlords can continue to serve section 21 notices for the time being.

If you require any advice or assistance in connection with repossession matters, please contact Katie Whitehead on 01484 821572 or katie.whitehead@ramsdens.co.uk.