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Section 21, Is Change On The Way?

The Government have been very active in their shake up of the rental market recently, and now they have set their sights on Section 21, so is change on the way?

For those who are experienced in the rental market, Section 21 maybe familiar, but if you are a new Landlord it’s certainly something worth finding out about. Currently, under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, Landlords can evict their tenants by providing them with 2 months’ notice once their fixed –term contract has come to an end. The important factor here is that under the current regulations Landlords aren’t required to provide their tenants with a reason for the eviction, this is referred to as ‘no fault’ eviction, you can find out more HERE. But is change on the way?

As part of the Governments ongoing project to facilitate longer and more secure tenancies they have announced plans to repeal Section 21, which could put an end to ‘no fault’ evictions and possibly make it much more difficult for Landlords to reclaim their property.

Essentially, the proposed changes would mean Landlords would always need to provide tenants with a valid reason for eviction such as breach of contract or wanting to sell the property. Tenants would still be able to choose to end the tenancy as long as they give adequate notice.

Some commentators have suggested that changes or repeal of Section 21 could leave Landlords with a problem when they come to disposing of their investment or in dealing with difficult tenants. However, a number of studies suggest that removing Section 21 will be a positive for the rental market and tenants in general, leading to longer more secure tenancies for tenants and less void periods for Landlords. You can read more about the debate HERE.

Whilst on the face of it, not being able to serve Section 21 notices may seem to be a hindrance and make it more difficult for Landlords to seek possession of their own property, there is some provision in the Governments outline plans to strengthen Section 8 of the Housing Act, which could bolster the rights of Landlords who want to recover their property in order to move in themselves or sell the investment. An explanation of Section 8 can be found HERE.

In addition, the Government has suggested that they will seek to work with the Ministry Of Justice and the Courts and Tribunal Service to reform the process for possession and hopefully make it easier and less time consuming for Landlords to gain possession of their property. However it has been suggested that these powers maybe limited to tenancies that have lasted for a minimum of 2 years.

So, Section 21, is change on the way? Almost certainly the answer is yes. When will the changes take place? Well that is under review. Before the proposed changes can become law a consultation will need to take place and the results of that consultation will be published and reviewed.

The Government have said that it will collaborate with Landlords, tenants and others in the private rented sector and that any legislative changes will include appropriate safeguards for Landlords.

Serving a Section 21 notice, and evictions in general can be a very complicated and time consuming process and it is vital that all paperwork and other regulations have been adhered to. If the due process has not been followed, you could find yourself in a very difficult and costly position.

Here at Hannells, our Lettings team are fully trained and experienced in all aspects of the Lettings process and the accompanying regulations, if you are struggling or feel you need any guidance or advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us on 01332 294396, email us at lettings@hannells.co.uk or just click HERE.

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