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What private residential landlords and tenants need to know about the proposed changes to No Fault Evictions:

In brief:

  • The current system allows a landlord to give a tenant two months’ notice to vacate the property (so long as the notice period ends at the end of the fixed term or the notice is served after the initial four months of a rolling monthly tenancy).  
  • The intention of the Renters Reform Bill is to abolish the current system. Landlords will no longer be able to evict a tenant without good reason.  
  • It will be possible to evict a tenant who does not pay the rent.   And there will be other grounds for evicting a tenant such as the landlord intends to sell or move into the property.
  • So, could a landlord increase the rent beyond a tenant’s capacity to pay in order to evict a tenant on the grounds of rent arrears?   No, the current system allows tenants to challenge a disproportionate rent increase in the First-tier Tribunal and that check on rent increases will remain. 
  • Tenants will be able to leave the property at any time giving two months’ notice.  

In detail:

When will the new legislation effect you? 

At the moment it is unclear when the government will bring in the changes and when they do, it will be done with plenty of warning.   

The government published a White Paper in June 2022.   The Renter Reform Bill was part of the Queen’s speech but the government has not provided further information about when the bill will be introduced.

The proposal is to introduce the new laws in two stages.  There will be at least 6 months’ notice of the first implementation date.   On that date any new tenancies will be subject to the new rules.  There will then be a period of at least 12 months before a second implementation date.   At that date the new rules will apply to all existing tenancies.     

New tenancy tenure:

There will be no fixed-term tenancies in the new system.   All fixed term, assured and assured shorthold tenancies will become periodic tenancies.   All tenancies will therefore roll on until brought to an end – either by the tenant giving two months’ notice or the landlord giving notice on one of the permitted grounds. 

How will the landlord bring the tenancy to an end?

Currently a landlord has alternate routes to obtaining a possession order – via a Section 21 notice or a Section 8 notice.  After the Renters Reform Bill, only the Section 8 route will be available.  

A landlord must set out at least one of the grounds listed in schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 when completing a Section 8 notice.   So, unlike the Section 21 notice, there has to be a reason for bringing the tenancy to an end. 

The government says it will bring in some changes to these ‘reasons’ for ending a tenancy.  New grounds will be introduced to permit eviction of the tenant where a landlord wants to sell the property move in family members.  And the grounds relating to rent arrears will be strengthened so that a landlord can evict a tenant who is repeatedly in arrears.  

The notice period is currently only 2 weeks in respect of a Section 8 notice for rent arrears.   The notice period will be increased to 4 weeks. The notice period for other grounds will be different.   If the landlord is seeking to repossess the property in order to sell, the notice period will be 2 months. 

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