The government has announced plans to get rid of section 21, so-called ‘no-fault evictions’, describing the move as the ‘biggest overhaul for renters in a generation’.
The groundbreaking move means private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants from their homes at short notice, without good reason.
As the law stands, landlords are able to evict tenants with as little as eight weeks notice after a fixed-term contract has ended, with the government saying section 21 evictions, which are very difficult to challenge, have become one of the leading causes of family homelessness, reports the Guardian.
Regarding the announcement, Theresa May said: “Millions of responsible tenants could still be uprooted by their landlord with little notice, and often little justification.
“This is wrong - and today we’re acting by preventing these unfair evictions. This important step will not only protect tenants from unethical behaviour, but also give them the long-term certainty and the peace of mind they deserve.”
Housing charity Shelter labelled the proposed change ‘an outstanding victory’ for renters, with recent figures showing that one in five families who rent privately have moved at least three times in the last five years, with one in 10 saying a private landlord or letting agent has thrown their belongings out and changed the locks.
The Citizens Advice chief executive, Gillian Guy, said the change would prevent landlords from ‘evicting tenants for simply complaining’.
Under the new rules, landlords wishing to evict tenants would have to use the section 8 process, currently used when a tenant has fallen into rent arrears, has been involved in criminal or antisocial behaviour or has broken terms of the rent agreement. However unlike section 21, tenants can challenge section eight evictions in court.
Shadow housing minister, John Healey, said: “Any promise of new help for renters is good news but this latest pledge won’t work if landlords can still force tenants out by hiking the rent.”
And renters union Acorn, said the new proposal should not be viewed as ‘a gift from a benevolent government’ but the result of a long-fought campaign by organised tenants.