Real Estate Blog: Assured shorthold tenancies: Is this the end of “no fault” evictions?

The current regime for residential landlords offers two primary routes to evict assured shorthold tenants:

  • the “no fault” s21 notice procedure, and
  • the s8 notice procedure (which is most frequently used where tenants have rent arrears).

The government is proposing to abolish the “no fault” or s21 route to eviction. The stated aim is to protect tenants and to improve living conditions for private tenants. This will provide tenants with greater security and is likely to make it more difficult for some landlords to regain possession of their properties.

At the same time, the government proposes to strengthen the current s8 regime to make it easier for landlords to deal with bad payers and anti-social behaviour as well as introducing additional grounds on which a landlord can serve a s8 notice.

Commentators on both sides of the argument have reservations about the government's plans and will be awaiting further detail on the proposals with great anticipation.

Shelter have commented that making it easier to evict tenants in the current climate of real difficulties with the cost of living would be “disastrous” and notes a risk that some landlords may try to exploit a loophole that would allow them to use unfair rent increases to enable them to evict tenants[1].

While the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) generally express support of reform, it is the strengthening of the procedure to evict those with rent arrears and anti-social tenants on which their support appears to be focussed. The NRLA have their own reservations and say that “proper court reform” will also be required - reform alone will not be enough[2].

If implemented, the proposed abolition of 'no fault' evictions will be one of the most significant legislative developments in the private rental sector in years (if not decades) and residential landlords, investors and prospective landlords and investors will all be eager to understand how the proposed reforms will work in practice. We will be keeping a close eye on developments in this area.

If you have any queries about granting an assured shorthold tenancy, or the residential possession process, please contact Sarah Murray or another one of our Property Litigation Experts.

[1] Section 21 reform: red flags in a White Paper | Shelter[2] Possession grounds to be strengthened as end of Section 21 in sight | NRLA

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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