With recent announcements on the future of Section 21, it is necessary to amass a clear body of evidence as to its value, and what reforms are needed for landlords to feel that their interests are being protected. Reforms should not threaten the effective functioning of landlords' property businesses.
Recent (15th April) Announcement
In July 2018 the Government launched a consultation seeking views on longer tenancies. The lack of a clear consensus on tenancy length and the insecurity reported by tenants on short fixed-term tenancies led the government to announce, “a generational change to the law that governs private renting”. It goes on to describe the reforms as “a new deal for renting”.
The Government proposes to do this by:
- Putting an end to so-called ‘no-fault’ evictions by repealing Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.
- Strengthening the Section 8 possession process, so property owners are able to regain their home should they wish to sell it or move into it.
- Build a consensus on a package of reforms to improve security for tenants while providing landlords with the confidence that they have the tools they need.
The next step to these reforms will see the Government publish a consultation to “collaborate with and listen to landlords, tenants and others in the private rented sector”.
It is therefore vital the RLA maximises the opportunity to influence government and shape the final policy proposals, which will eventually form new legislation.
More details on the announcement can be found here.
The Labour Party has also adopted a similar policy.
Security of tenure for tenants in the private rental sector is of increasing political interest.
At the forefront of this debate is the use of Section 21 (s21) notices which allow landlords to seek possession of their property without having to give their tenants a reason for doing so. This week's announcement by government has made this debate all the more prescient.
When the Housing Act 1988 was introduced the rental market was very different. Reform may be due, but our research shows time and again that landlords typically have good reasons for the use of a notice under Section 21. Thus new legislation must work for the vast majority of landlords who provide a good service to those they rent to.
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