As a landlord, you might have heard of upcoming changes in the eviction process in England. The Government has proposed to modify various Sections of the Housing Act 1988 that allow landlords to reclaim their rental property, especially Section 21.
But what exactly is Section 21? What are the alternatives? And what can landlords do to protect themselves and their property?
We talked to the experts at Just Landlords to find out.
What is a Section 21 “No Fault” eviction notice?
In England and Wales, there are different regulations to help landlords who want to evict tenants from a rental property.
If a tenant has assured shorthold tenancy, there are two main notices they can be given.
First, you can give them a Section 8 notice if they have broken the terms of the tenancy.
If they haven’t, you can give them a Section 21 notice. This type of notice, also known as a “no fault” eviction, informs tenants of the date by which they have to leave.
You can use this type of notice if you want to move back into your property yourself, or if you want to sell it.
However, you need to be careful to follow the correct procedures, as you might otherwise face accusations of illegally evicting tenants.
Why is the government scrapping Section 21?
In recent years, Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 has been criticised because of the sweeping powers it gives landlords to evict tenants.
In 2018, a consultation concluded that as a result, tenants are often reluctant to challenge rent increases or ask for repairs.
The subsequent year, the Government announced that it would take steps to end unfair evictions and to increase renter security. As part of that, Section 21 will likely be scrapped, and Section 8 amended.
What can landlords do to protect themselves?
While the shifts in legal frameworks are under way, there are a few steps that landlords can take to protect themselves and their property. The most important precaution is to get proper insurance.
Just Landlords, a specialist property insurance provider, comments: “A comprehensive policy can help protect rental homes from a range of risks. Knowing that you have cover if a tenant causes damage to the property can help provide peace of mind. On top of that, landlords can also consider rent guarantee insurance if they have concerns about tenants failing to pay the rent.”
Section 21 has been a long-established mechanism by which landlords can evict tenants if they wish to reclaim their property for their own use or to sell it. Unlike Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988, it can be used without the prerequisite of tenants having broken the terms of their lease.
While the Government is in the process of updating eviction regulations, there is little landlords can do except wait for the outcome. In the meantime, properly insuring yourself is the best course of action to take.