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Abolishing the Section 21 Notice?

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced plans to scrap the ‘no fault’ Section 21 notice used to end assured shorthold tenancies in England and Wales.

The Government has indicated that the plans have come about due to the high number of families in rented accommodation, caused by high house prices and low wages. It is believed more than 4 million people now live in privately rented accommodation. The charity Shelter has encouraged these changes and believes that good tenants who pay their rent should be able to stay in their homes indefinitely, unless the landlord has a legitimate reason for ending the tenancy.

Current Position:

Currently landlords can serve their tenants with a Section 21 Notice, giving them 8 weeks’ notice to leave the premises, without the need to give a reason.

For tenancies which have started after 01 October 2015 landlords must show that certain obligations were met before serving a section 21 notice; i.e. that the tenant had sight of a valid EPC for the property before the tenancy commenced and that a valid gas safety certificate was in place (if applicable), amongst other things.

Landlords have other notices available to them in the event a tenant fails to pay rent or breaches the terms of the tenancy, however in practice discretionary issues can be tricky to prove and awards of possession are not always straight forward or quick to obtain under these grounds, with reports that judges tend to favour tenants in the courts.

The Future:

It appears the Government plans to consult on an overhaul of the Housing Act and potentially introduce new legislation which will favour the tenants’ rights and ensure they have security in their home, unless the landlord can demonstrate ‘good reason’. The consultation also plans to remove the short 8 week notice period and may seek to create open ended tenancies.

If you require any advice in respect of any tenancy issue Ella can be contacted on 01643 707 777.

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