Will We Have a New Government That Finally Fixes The Rental Market?

Understandably, tenants will be watching carefully. The Renters Reform Bill has been a hot topic over the past few months, if not years and prior to the election being called, it was passing through government but came to a standstill. Both political parties have stated quite loudly that they are committed to seeing the bill passed, but we shall see!

We’ve read the manifestos and the big headline is Labour’s pledge to ban Section 21 evictions with immediate effect. For those unfamiliar with a Section 21 eviction, it’s a very cruel piece of legislation that allows a landlord to throw a tenant out of the property and potentially on to the streets without reason, also referred to as a ‘no-fault eviction’.

The notion that Section 21 evictions could be outlawed, on the surface, sounds great. However, at Tenant Angels, we’ve been going through the proposals very carefully and we have some very serious concerns.

Do we like Section 21 notices? NO. Do we think that extra security for tenants is a good thing? Of course! Do we believe that this proposal will offer this? Maybe not.

On the face of it, bringing an end to ‘no-fault’ evictions is a very good thing but like most proposals (and promises), the devil is in the detail and we have been looking out for likely loopholes that landlords and advising agents might try to exploit.

Alongside banning S21 notices, the proposals also point to a large extension of powers granted under Section 8 evictions. Yes, that’s right… a different type of eviction notice. Unlike S21 ‘no-fault’ eviction notices, Section 8 notices are served with cause and currently it’s most popular usage is to evict tenants with rent arrears in excess of two months.

Under the proposal, it is suggested that the grounds for Section 8 evictions will be extended and the big one that really worries us is; “Under the new guidelines, landlords will be permitted to give tenants two months’ notice if they wish to sell or move into their rental property”.

Whilst Section 21 notices are clearly not a good thing, a tenant can defend themselves against them in certain cases, as the rules that will make a notice valid or invalid are very strict, for example but not limited to;

But guess what… none of the above applies to a Section 8 eviction notice.

By banning Section 21 evictions and beefing up Section 8 evictions, we have to ask ourselves, is this really an end to no-fault evictions and a big win for tenants or is this just going to be another badly thought out piece of legislation that offers hope but no substance.

What we need more than ever is clarity, real, meaningful change that will protect the millions of people who rent in this country. We don’t need a flashy headline and more broken promises.

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