The Renters Reform Bill was first proposed in April 2019 by the Government.
On 10 May 2022, the Queen’s Speech announced 38 new Bills that the Government intend to introduce this coming year, one of which was the Renters Reform Bill (“the Bill”). The Government’s press release below describes the proposals of the Bill.
One of the proposals, is to ban Section 21 evictions, which are more commonly known as “no fault" evictions.
What are Section 21 evictions?
There are two ways in which a landlord can obtain possession of their property. The first is by serving on their tenants a Notice Seeking Possession pursuant to Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (“Section 21 Notice”), and then, if necessary issuing accelerated possession proceedings at the Court.
Provided that the landlord has complied with the various requirements, which includes, but is not limited to: serving upon their tenants a valid energy performance certificate ("EPC"), a landlord can serve a Section 21 Notice upon their tenants. Under this procedure, landlords are required to provide their tenants with at least two months’ notice.
An advantage of the Section 21 procedure is that it allows landlords to obtain possession of their property, without the need to provide their tenants with a reason for eviction.
This is in contrast to Section 8 evictions. This procedure is the second way at which a landlord can obtain possession of their property. This procedure involves landlords serving upon their tenants a Notice Seeking Possession pursuant to Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 (“Section 8 Notice”), and then, if necessary, issuing a standard possession claim at the Court. However, the Section 8 Notice must state the grounds for possession the landlord is relying upon, which can be rent arrears. The grounds for possession are listed in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 ("Schedule 2").
If the Bill becomes law, how will this affect landlords?
With the ban of Section 21 evictions, landlords will have to rely on the Section 8 procedure described above. However, if the landlord is unable to rely on any of the grounds for possession listed in Schedule 2, depending on any reforms made to Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988, it is likely that their tenants can remain in the property.
However, it is noted in the below press release, that the Government advised that:
“The Bill will also strengthen landlords’ grounds for repossession making it easier for them to evict tenants who are wilfully not paying rent, or who are repeatedly engaging in anti-social behaviour....”
The Government are due to publish a White Paper outlining in further detail their proposals for reform.