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Government push back ban of Section 21 evictions

View profile for Michelle Hayter
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Government push back ban of Section 21 evictions

On 20th October 2023, the Government made it clear that the abolition of Section 21 evictions will not happen until a new and improved court process is introduced and the ban will not be included in the upcoming Renters Reform Bill.

In this article, Landlord & Tenant Specialist Michelle Hayter summarises exactly what the Government said regarding Section 21 evictions, and answers some questions from landlords.

UPDATE: Renters Reform Bill unlikely to pass through Parliament

Is Section 21 still being scrapped? What did the Government say?

Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions currently, and controversially, allow landlords to evict their tenants without needing to give a reason for the repossession.

They were first set to be scrapped as part of the Renters Reform Bill, confirmed when the first draft of the bill was released in May of this year.

However, the Government has now made it clear that Section 21 evictions will not be banned as soon as we thought.  Whilst it is still proposed that Section 21 evictions will be scrapped at some time in the future, there is no imminent risk to landlords looking to seek possession of their properties in this way.  There is currently no timeline as to when this will happen.

Why has the Section 21 ban been pushed back?

The banning of Section 21 evictions has been delayed until improvements can be made to the court system to expedite Section 8 possession claims where there are valid fault-based grounds to take such action. The current Section 8 grounds will be extended to fill the gap left by the abolition of Section 21’s. 

At present, it can take over 6 months for courts to process section 8 eviction claims; which is far too long. As a result, many landlords are leaving the market and renters are struggling to find housing.

The Government will try to make the eviction application process more digital in an attempt to make things easier and quicker for landlords looking to take possession.

With the way that the process is currently set out, it would be too difficult for the Courts to take on a surge of eviction orders under Section 8, when Section 21 evictions are abolished.

Courts will also prioritise certain cases such as anti-social behaviour, to ensure that cases where evictions are most needed are carried out.

So, can I still evict a tenant using Section 21?

Yes, you can still evict a tenant via Section 21 at the moment; meaning you won’t need to provide a reason or rely on any grounds to retake possession.

However, as we mentioned, the Court pipeline for eviction cases is quite lengthy.

Why are Section 21 evictions being banned in the first place?

Section 21 evictions are set to be banned because they were deemed ‘unfair’ for tenants, as they can be evicted without any reason.

The idea was that banning Section 21 evictions would provide more security for tenants as landlords will need a valid reason for eviction, and notice periods will be longer so tenants can find new rented property to live in.

In addition, some landlords have abused the Section 21 system by using it to evict tenants who pointed out problems with a property, for example, or asked for necessary repairs or maintenance to be carried out.

With Section 21 evictions banned, landlords would have to rely on Section 8 to repossess their property. Section 8 requires the landlord to give a valid reason for eviction and rely on certain grounds.

Find out more about Section 8 evictions and how they work here.

Or, you can read our general advice on evictions in our free Residential Landlord’s Guide. Download your copy here.

What is the Renter’s Reform Bill?

The Renter’s Reform Bill is set to provide major changes to the private rented sector, which the Government claims 11 million tenants will benefit from.

Overall, the main purpose of the Bill is to improve home quality standards, provide fairer tenancies resulting in added security and protection for tenants, as well as stabilising the private rental market.

The proposals included within the Bill are as follows:

  • Tenants will have the right to request pets in their let home
  • Bans on renting to families with children or those on benefits will be made illegal
  • Landlords may be entitled to reduce notice periods where tenants are irresponsible
  • Private landlords will be required to join the Ombudsman scheme
  • Landlords will only be able to raise rent once per annum

Find out more about the Bill here.

What else did the Government announce?

The Government also announced that they will introduce a ground for possession that will work with the “yearly cycle of short-term student tenancies”.

This would allow tenants to sign up to a property in advance, so they are able to secure living arrangements ahead of time.

Related: The top responsibilities for UK landlords

Specialist Landlord & Eviction Advice

If, after reading this article, you have any more questions or would like to speak to a specialist; please don’t hesitate to contact our Landlord & Tenant Team.

We can provide tailored advice specific to your circumstances, answer any questions you may have and assist you in regaining possession of your property through eviction.

You can call us on 01202 499255, or fill out the form at the top of this page, for a free 30-minute appointment

The content of this article, blog or video is not intended as specific legal advice. For tailored assistance, please contact a member of our team.