Whilst the ‘Renters’ (Reform) Bill’ has been discussed as a potential piece of UK legislation for numerous years, it has only formally been introduced in Parliament in May 2023. Part of this new legislation will include abolishing Section 21 evictions. In our latest blog below, we explain what this could mean for landlords.
If you are a property landlord, you must follow strict procedures if you want your ‘assured shorthold tenancy’ tenants to leave your property. There are two types of assured shorthold tenancies:
- ‘periodic’ tenancies that run week by week or month by month with no fixed end date
- fixed-term tenancies that run for a set amount of time with a written contract.
Currently landlords can give tenants of an assured shorthold tenancy a Section 21 notice if you want the property back. You do not need a reason to serve a Section 21 notice, however you must follow correct notice procedures which apply to fixed term and periodic tenancies.
The government has indicated its intention to abolish Section 21 evictions as part of the Renters’ Reform Bill and this could pose both short-term and long-term issues including:
- A recent survey by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has indicated that almost 30% of landlords are considering reducing their portfolio due to rising costs which may increase evictions it likely become harder to sell a property after Section 21 notices are abolished.
- Whilst evicting ‘problem tenants’ in breach of their tenancy agreement can be achieved through a Section 8 notice, most landlords use Section 21 as it is a quicker process. The abolishment could further increase in evictions to minimise any issues with Section 8 notices together with the risks to landlords of choosing a tenant before the law is changed.
Landlords need not worry at present, as the following timeline has been suggested in government statements:
- It may be the latter half of 2024 before the Bill is passed;
- A further 6 months before stage 1 of the Bill is implemented where all new assured shorthold tenancies will be periodic and all of the new rules will apply to those new tenancies;
- A further 12 months between stage 1 and a 2nd implementation stage. From stage 2, all pre-existing assured and assured shorthold tenancies will move to the new system.
This suggested timeline takes us in to 2026. This may be further extended if there is a change of government policy or change of government at the next election; an election should take place before 28th January 2025.
The Renters Reform Bill manifesto is also intended to:
- Strengthen the Section 8 possession grounds so that landlords can obtain possession more efficiently regarding repeated incidences of rent arrears and by reducing notice periods for anti-social behaviour.
- Introduce an Ombudsman for disputes to be resolved without referring a matter to court.
- Introduce a property portal for landlords regarding their obligations and the information that needs to be provided to tenants.
The new legislation in its entirety could significantly impact the already strained landlord-tenant relationship albeit the intentions are to benefit both parties in some way. If you are a landlord and concerned about the impending change to the law, or need any type of legal advice in relation to your property portfolio, please speak to any member of our Dispute Resolution team at Ralli Solicitors LLP on 0161 832 6131 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.