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The Renters Reform Bill 2023 and the demise of the Section 21 Notice

The proposed abolition of section 21 evictions will introduce a simpler and more secure tenancy for a tenant.  As “no fault evictions” will no longer exist, a landlord would have to have a valid ground for possession of the property, meaning that a tenant would have to have breached one of the clauses of the tenancy agreement.  Currently, Section 21 allows landlords to reclaim their property with two months’ notice without the tenant being at fault, if the tenancy’s fixed term has ended.

To ensure that landlords remain able to obtain possession of their property if genuinely required, the grounds for possession are set to be reformed with the addition of new grounds under Section 8 of The Housing Act which will allow landlords to sell or move close family members into the property, or evict their tenant if redevelopment is taking place.  After a tenant has lived in a property for six months, their landlord will be able to evict them under these “reasonable circumstances”.  In addition to this, the grounds dealing with persistent rent arrears and anti-social behaviour will be strengthened.

Landlords will still need to serve notice on the prescribed form to their tenant with the required notice period. If a tenant does not leave the property, the landlord will need to go to court and provide evidence that the ground applies before being awarded possession.

The intention is for tenancies to be simplified by transitioning all tenancies to periodic tenancies, meaning that a tenancy would only end if the tenant chose to leave and provided two months’ notice to their landlord, or if the landlord had a valid reason to seek possession.

As well as the abolition of Section 21, the Bill will limit landlords to one rental increase per year.  There will also be a new ombudsman for private landlords appointed to oversee independent investigations of landlords when tenants have made complaints, with the potential of the tenant being awarded up to £25,000 in compensation from landlords deemed to have acted improperly.

The Bill still needs to pass through parliament, but there is likely to be two stages to the abolition process.  Stage one will transition all new tenancies to periodic agreements, and stage 2 will move all existing tenancies to the new system under a date given by the Secretary of State.

It is likely that it will take several months for the Bill to become law and there is also the possibility that the content of the Bill will change during the parliamentary process which began on 17 May 2023.

If you would like to talk about any of the matters above, please contact us on 0800 84 94 101