The private rented sector has swiftly increased over the past few years with over 4 million people now renting privately, however the housing market has not kept up with the changes in society and leaves many tenants feeling unprotected. The plan is to protect renters from dishonourable landlords and give them long-term security.
Currently Section 21 notices allow landlords to evict tenants without a reason after their fixed-term tenancy period ends.
At the moment landlords can give tenants as little as eight weeks’ notice after a fixed-term contract ends. However, under the new plans the landlord would have to provide a ‘concrete evidence reason already specified in law’ in order to bring the tenancy to an end. The change will essentially create ‘open-ended tenancies’ bringing a greater peace of mind to millions of families who live in rented accommodation.
Housing Secretary James Brokenshire said that evidence showed so-called section 21 evictions were the biggest causes of family homelessness. He has said “the plan will offer more stability to the growing number of families renting and mean that people would not be afraid to complain.” Further, the Prime Minister, Teresa May said that the plans will ‘protect responsible tenants from unethical behaviour and give them long term certainty and the peace of mind they deserve’.
The National Landlord Association said that members were forced to use Section 21 notices because they had no confidence in the Court to settle possession claims under Section 8 notices.
Although some landlords are not pleased about the proposed changes the plans also mean that landlords who have a genuine reason to seek possession of their property back e.g. to sell or move in themselves would be able to do so more promptly. Alongside this the government has promised to amend the section 8 process so landlords are able to quickly and straightforwardly regain their property back in the event the tenant does not pay their rent or falls into arrears.
When the reforms will come into place is unspecified however, James Brokenshire has stated that a consultation will take place on the proposals. The plan will provide considerable certainty for tenants and make the housing market conform to the 21st century, whilst generating a more secure rental market for landlords in which to venture and invest.