Government Proposes End to No-Fault Evictions

The government has proposed an end to ‘no fault’ evictions carried out under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. Section 21 enables private landlords to repossess their properties from assured shorthold tenants, without having to establish any fault on the part of the tenant, hence it is sometimes referred to as the ‘no-fault’ ground for eviction. It is often used simply to enforce a rental increase and has been opposed by many social housing pressure groups.

Private tenants, their representative bodies, and others working in the sector argue the ability of landlords to end an assured shorthold tenancy at short notice has a detrimental effect on tenants’ wellbeing.

Last year, research by Shelter, the housing charity, said nearly 230,000 private renters had been served with a no-fault eviction notice since April 2019.

Research shows evidence of tenants who are reluctant to exercise their rights to secure repairs and/or challenge rent increases due to the ease with which landlords can evict them. Respondents to a 2018 consultation on, overcoming the barriers to longer tenancies in the private rented sector, said they felt unable to plan due to housing insecurity, with knock-on effects on children’s education and residents’ mental health.

Better Deal

On 15 April 2019, the then-Government announced: “Private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants from their homes at short notice and without good reason.” This was followed by a consultation which ran between July and October 2019. The consultation paper proposed the abolition of section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

The Conservative Manifesto 2019 promised “a better deal for renters” which included abolishing ‘no-fault’ evictions. A Renters Reform Bill was included in the Queen’s Speech December 2019 but was not introduced in the 2019-21 parliamentary session.

The Queen’s Speech 2021 said the Government’s response to the 2019 consultation would be published, followed by of a private rented sector reform package in a white paper in autumn 2021.

The white paper, A Fairer Private Rented Sector, was published on 16 June 2022. It sets out a 12-point action plan to deliver “a fairer, more secure, higher quality private rented sector.” The Queen’s Speech 2022 confirmed a Renters Reform Bill would be introduced in the 2022-23 parliamentary session.

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