News | Published April 15 2019

NLA says no-fault eviction ban could cause difficulties for tenants

The government has today announced that no-fault evictions in England will be banned.

The aim of this policy is to offer tenants protection against unfair landlords and to give them long-term security.

At present, landlords in England can use Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 to evict tenants without citing a fault. They can do so, moreover, by giving only eight weeks’ notice.

However, the mechanisms for removing a tenant will now require much stronger justification.

According to housing secretary James Brokenshire, landlords will now have to put in place “concrete, evidenced reason already specified in law.”

An exception would be in the event that the landlord plans to either sell or move into his or her property, for which there would be “speedy redress.”

One of the main impetuses behind this move was the fact that many tenants who made formal complaints were then being evicted. For example, a Citizens Advice survey found that formal complainants were evicted nearly half of the time.

Not everyone is happy with this change. The National Landlords Assocations’ chief executive reported that Section 21 was often used because Section 8 – another provision used for eviction – is too slow and ineffective a legal mechanism for dealing with tenants who didn’t pay rent.

This new change, he continued, would allow bad tenants to, in some cases, unfairly continue their tenancy.

The Parliamentary Review asked the National Landlords Association what they believed the long-term implications of this change in policy would be. Meera Chindooroy, their Policy and Public Affairs Manager, told us:

“We’re awaiting further details from the Government and it’s too early to predict the exact fall out of the proposed changes. However, it’s likely many landlords are going to be considering their options and how to exit the market when their current tenancies come to an end, or potentially earlier.”

“Furthermore, landlords are likely to seek further assurances from prospective tenants before they begin tenancies under the new rules, including more stringent referencing and financial checks. Those tenants who landlords perceive as potentially riskier, for example if they have a history of rent arrears, are likely to face more difficulties in finding a home.”

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Authored by

Thomas Wilson
Political Editor
April 15 2019

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