MILLIONS of renters will be prevented from no-fault evictions, the government has announced today.
Landlords will be banned from turfing out tenants without a good reason under the new plans.
At present, landlords can issue a Section 21 notice without a valid reason to tenants outside of rental contracts, giving them just eight weeks notice to find a new home.
Many tenants live in fear of being evicted at short notice or continue to live in sub-standard accommodation because they are worried they’ll be asked to leave if they complain about problems in their home.
Charities and campaign groups have warned about a rise in Section 21 notices – also called “no-fault evictions”.
Today’s move has been praised an “outstanding victory for England’s 11 million private renters” by Shelter, while Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire said it was the “biggest change to the private rental sector in a generation.”
Landlords will still be able to end tenancies if they have a good reason, for example, if tenants don’t pay rent or damage a property.
But the government is also planning to extend current legislation to allow landlords to evict tenants if they want to sell the property or move in.
These are known as Section 8 notices. The government will now consult on how these rules will work before changing any laws.
“This change will slam the brakes on unstable short-term tenancies and give tenants everywhere a massive boost in security, for which the government will deserve great credit,” Polly Neate, chief executive from Shelter said.
What is the section 21 rule and what are your rights as a renter
THE law – known as Section 21 – means a landlord can ask you to move out with two months notice, without needing a particular reason.
- The first step of every procedure is the section 21 notice – a letter of notification that the landlord must serve to the tenant, prior to the eviction. The notice to quit is purely informational and doesn’t carry any legal power.
- If you’ve got a good relationship with your landlord, it might be worth asking them if you can stay in your home for longer. Send a letter to your landlord explaining your situation and keep a copy of any reply you get.
- Your landlord can’t make you leave your home unless they’ve gone to court to get a possession order and a warrant for eviction.
- You might be able to challenge your eviction and stay in your home.
- A section 8 notice can require you to move sooner, but can only be served if the landlord has a reason, such as you breaking the terms of your tenancy.
- New rules introduced in October 2015 have made it harder to evict you for reporting problems with the property.
- If you’re asked to leave because you’ve asked for repairs then you should see advice immediately.
- You can find more tips on how to challenge your eviction on Citizens Advice.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation said: “This is a serious step in improving the lives of tenants – we now need to see the housing and social security systems work together to ensure that people are not swept into poverty due to the shortage of low cost rented homes.”
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Everyone renting in the private sector has the right to feel secure in their home, settled in their community and able to plan for the future with confidence.
“But millions of responsible tenants could still be uprooted by their landlord with little notice, and often little justification.
“This is wrong – and today we’re acting by preventing these unfair evictions.”
It comes weeks ahead of the ban on unfair letting fees from estate agents and landlords as well as a cap on tenancy deposits to five-weeks rent.
But landlords warned that there is a “serious danger” that the rule change could affect the housing market.
David Smith, from the Residential Landlords Association said: “With the demand for private rented homes continuing to increase, we need the majority of good landlords to have confidence to invest in new homes.
“This means ensuring they can swiftly repossess properties for legitimate reasons such as rent arrears, tenant anti-social behaviour or wanting to sell them.
“For all the talk of greater security for tenants, that will be nothing if the homes to rent are not there in the first place. We call on the government to act with caution.”
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