On the 15th April 2019, the Government announced they were going to “end unfair evictions” and this was the “biggest change to the private rental sector for a generation”.
Although this may seem, like scrapping Section 21’s was a ‘done deal’, the Government was actually announcing the intention to launch a consultation on changes to the Section 21 (S21) process. Currently, S21 notices are still valid and landlords can continue to issue these to regain possession of their property.
Whilst some tenants may interpret the announcement to mean that a landlord cannot end a tenancy simply because they want to sell their property or move back into it, this is not the case. In a recent article, Heather Wheeler MP, who wrote for the RLA (Residential Landlord Association), states that “we will be strengthening Section 8 to give landlords further grounds to repossess – for example if they need to sell or move into their home”
These changes may worry landlords that they might not be able to evict a tenant, and as this announcement comes on top of a plethora of new legal requirements to let a home coupled with tax rises, it may be the ‘last straw’ for some landlords who could decide to sell up. According to the quarterly Belvoir rental index and anecdotal discussions with other qualified agents, hardly any of them ever evict a tenant and if they do it’s due to non-payment of rent, being a nuisance to neighbours, landlords selling the property or moving back into it.
None of these reasons for evicting a tenant are likely to be changed in the consultation, therefore for good landlords and agents, it’s likely to be ‘business as usual’ for most involved in the sector. Tenants will likely continue to end the majority of lets at their convenience as opposed to being unfairly evicted by the landlord.
In the meantime, if anyone does need to evict a tenant, it is important to make sure you do it legally and fairly. Use the Tenancy Deposit Scheme checklist to help you do this.
Kate Faulkner is a recognised property industry expert and runs propertychecklists.co.uk, a consumer advice website providing insight and expertise. She also runs consultancy Designs on Property Ltd. which provides support to companies and organisations that want to communicate better to the public or to introduce new products and services to the property sector.
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