In April this year, the government announced that it will put an end to so called ‘no-fault’ evictions by repealing section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (HA 1988); this will benefit tenants of private landlords said to feel vulnerable that their tenancy could be ended at short notice. Last month it published its consultation document, “A new deal for renting: resetting the balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants”, and is asking for the views of landlords to a number of proposed changes to the residential rental sector. Consultation opened on 21 July 2019 and closes on 12 October 2019.
The consultation document can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-new-deal-for-renting-resetting-the-balance-of-rights-and-responsibilities-between-landlords-and-tenants#history
Broadly speaking, the consultation seeks views on the following:
- The impact of abolishing ASTs;
- Whether the proposed reforms should apply to both the private and the social sectors;
- How the existing grounds for possession in Schedule 2 to the HA 1988 should be amended or extended;
- How applications for possession orders under section 8 of the HA 1988 could be processed more efficiently.
Whilst proposing to abolish section 21 of the HA 1988, the government has recognised the need to improve the grounds for possession available under section 8 of the HA 1988, to ensure that a landlord can obtain possession whenever it has a legitimate reason to do so (point 3 above).
It is these proposed amendments that are likely to be of most interest to landlords because these may soon be the only grounds upon which a landlord can seek to remove a tenant.
Landlords will be pleased to discover that the government does appear to acknowledge that landlords may have a reasonable reason for wanting to secure possession of their property where the tenant is not at fault. It has been suggested therefore that new grounds for possession could be introduced if a landlord:
- Wants to sell the property with vacant possession; or
- Wants to move a member of their family in.
Whilst there is not yet a planned date for the possible implementation of such legislation, it is proposed that there be a six month transition period to allow landlords to prepare for the changes.
Landlords can have their say:
1) Online: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/52JFF5T
2) By email: TenancyReform@communities.gov.uk
3) By post to:
Private Rented Sector Strategy and Reform Division
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Third Floor, South West – Fry Building
2 Marsham Street