In a move seen to protect vulnerable tenants from unethical landlords, the government has announced plans to ban ‘no fault’ evictions.
Under the plans, private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants at short notice without good reason.
Using the current Section 21 system, a landlord can terminate a tenancy with as little as eight weeks’ notice once a fixed term contract has come to an end without the need to prove any wrong-doing.
But, announcing the new plans, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Everyone renting in the private sector has the right to feel secure in their home, settled in their community and able to plan for the future with confidence.
“But millions of responsible tenants could still be uprooted by their landlord with little notice, and often little justification. This is wrong – and today we’re acting by preventing these unfair evictions.
“Landlords will still be able to end tenancies where they have legitimate reasons to do so, but they will no longer be able to unexpectedly evict families with only eight weeks’ notice.
“This important step will not only protect tenants from unethical behaviour, but also give them the long-term certainty and the peace of mind they deserve.”
The change has been hailed by housing charity Shelter as ‘an outstanding victory’.
Chief executive Polly Neate said: “Government plans to abolish no-fault evictions represent an outstanding victory for England’s 11 million private renters.
“This change will slam the brakes on unstable short-term tenancies and give tenants everywhere a massive boost in security, for which the Government will deserve great credit.”
The National Landlords Association (NLA) said landlords were forced to use Section 21 because they had ‘no confidence’ in the courts to settle possession claims.
Spokesman David Smith said: “There are serious dangers of getting such reforms wrong. With demand for private rented properties outstripping supply, landlords need to have confidence to invest in new homes.
“This means ensuring they can swiftly repossess properties for legitimate reasons such as rent arrears, tenant anti-social behaviour or wanting to sell them. This needs to happen before any moves are made to end Section 21.”
Housing Secretary James Brokenshire said the new rules would help landlords as well as tenants because they would offer ‘speedy redress’ to landlords seeking to regain possession of their property for legitimate reasons, including selling it or moving into it themselves.
He said: “We are making the biggest change to the private rental sector in a generation. People should have the security and stability to make a place truly feel like home without the fear of being evicted at a moments’ notice.”