Section 21 changes - what does this mean for landlords and tenants?

Posted by

Marina Cheal

on May 10, 2019

In April the government announced plans to change how the eviction process works, namely that Section 21 is to be abolished. Whilst government ministers have called this the biggest change to the private rental sector in a generation, some landlord organisations have expressed concerns about what this means for them. Whatever side of the fence you’re on, these are the facts you need to know. 

First of all, what is Section 21?

This is the main process landlords currently rely on to regain possession of a property. All they have to do is give the tenant two months’ notice to leave, without providing a reason. Should the tenant not leave, the landlord can then apply to the court for a possession order.

What has replaced this?

After the changes come into effect, landlords will then rely on the Section 8 process when they want to ask their tenants to leave the property. They will only be able to do this when the tenant has breached their rental agreement, for example by being more than two months rent in arrears or after causing damage to the property.

What are the effects of this change?

For landlords this means they can no longer simply evict tenants from a property without good reason. There is some concern that the Section 8 process is slower and more costly than the Section 21 process. A survey from the National Landlord Association (NLA) found that landlords who used Section 8 to evict a tenant took around 41 days longer, and spent over £2000 more, than those who used Section 21.

However, the government has suggested that the Section 8 process will be adjusted so that landlords who have decided to sell their property are able to regain it more easily. And when landlords have good grounds for evicting their tenants, such as significant arrears or damaged property, the dispute process will move quicker. So it remains to be seen what effect this will ultimately have on landlord’s income.

For tenants this means more reassurance they won’t simply be evicted for no good reason. In short: pay your rent, respect your property, and you can expect to have a secure home for many years, even if someone else owns that home. Landlords can’t simply throw someone out for complaining about problems to the property, for example.

When will this come into effect?

The government currently haven’t announced a specific date, and the changes in legislation need to first be agreed in Parliament. When this happens, we’ll let you know, but we believe the government wish to do this as soon as possible. These changes won’t affect existing tenancies, however. This will only be an issue on new tenancies.

Residently can help you manage these tricky changes

Over the next few years, the government plan to significantly overhaul the private rental sector, with many changes on the horizon designed to give tenants more control and rights over the homes they live in. As a private landlord, it can be hard to keep up to date with these changes, and even trickier to navigate their implications.

Fortunately, Residently are in your corner. Our team of experts will not only find you great tenants, but give you guaranteed income, informed advice and lower stress levels – all with no hidden fees, and a low commission.

Join the Residently Owners network here >