In the biggest proposed reform to housing law for many years, the government has announced plans to abolish ‘no-fault’ evictions. This would bring to an end the practice of many landlords of serving a section 21 notice to tenants, which allows the landlord to regain possession without any reason.
Section 21 notices were brought into law in 1989 under another Conservative government. One of the aims of the change, which has been largely successful, was to encourage more private landlords to rent out their properties. Since then the notices have increasingly been used by private landlords to evict tenants without having to establish in Court that it is reasonable for them to do so. Under an ‘accelerated’ possession procedure, landlords can even get a Possession Order without any hearing, and in 2015 there were 16,620 such evictions. This reduced to 12,953 in 2017 – still equivalent to 35 evictions per day.
Housing associations have also been using section 21 notices, which has allowed them to evict tenants who may be vulnerable or have children for reasons such as rent arrears or antisocial behaviour. This makes it particularly hard for tenants to defend as they are forced to use public law defences relying on, for example, the Equality Act 2010 and the European Convention of Human Rights.
The government’s proposal has drawn sharp criticism from landlords’ organisations, and it remains to be seen what impact such a huge change would have on the rental market in general.
If your landlord has applied to evict you using a section 21 notice, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to a member of our team on 020 3440 8100.