The Renters Reform Bill: the start of the end for the Section 21 Notice


26 May 2022

Landlords throughout England need to be aware of the potentially significant end to the no fault Section 21 notice procedure, following the Queen's Speech on 10 May 2022.

Whilst proposals to abolish the Section 21 Notice procedure have been in the pipeline for some time, the new Renters Reform Bill confirms the Government’s intention to pursue this legislation further and a White Paper will be published shortly with details of the proposed reforms.

What is a Section 21 notice?

A notice served pursuant to Section 21 Housing Act 1988 is a two-month notice that entitles landlords to evict their tenants without proving they are at fault, for example, because of rent arrears or an alternative breach of the tenancy agreement.

The Section 21 notice has come under significant criticism over the past few years as it makes it easier for landlords to evict tenants with relatively little notice, and without the need for the tenant to have breached the tenancy agreement.

What are the proposals under the Renters Reform Bill?

Whilst it is yet to reach Parliament, the Renters Reform Bill will, amongst other proposals, abolish Section 21 notices.

This means that Landlords will be reliant upon proving specific grounds under Section 8 Housing Act 1988. Currently, such grounds include: establishing two months’ rent arrears, nuisance or a breach of tenancy agreement.

The Renters Reform Bill indicates that it will strengthen and broaden the grounds under Section 8 which are available to landlords, for example: where they are faced with repeated incidences of rent arrears or anti-social behaviour. This will, hopefully, allow landlords to efficiently regain possession of their properties where a tenant defaults. How this works in practice remains to be seen as the courts are already under increasing pressure from possession claims made pursuant to Section 8 Housing Act 1988, which has resulted in significant delays across the country.

How can Birketts help?

At Birketts LLP we regularly advise and assist landlords on the best available options by which to regain possession of property (be that via service of a Section 21 or Section 8 notice) and/or the recovery of rent arrears and/or claims against the tenant’s rent deposit.

Landlords urgently seeking possession of their property may benefit from seeking legal advice and serving a Section 21 notice, before the new legislation takes effect, so as to avoid any potential delays.

If you are a landlord looking for assistance relating to a property which you require possession of, please do not hesitate to contact Naomi Baker in the Chelmsford Property Litigation Team.

The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at May 2022.

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