new eviction rules

New eviction rules could be a positive step for landlords

Although the new eviction rules for the private rented sector have yet to be fully confirmed in detail, could the negativity surrounding them be misplaced?

Since more information relating to the Renters Reform Bill was revealed earlier this year, some landlords and property investors have been particularly concerned with the section linked to new eviction rules; in short, the abolishment of Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions.

At present, Section 21 is a method employed by some landlords looking to repossess their properties. Provided the landlord follows the correct procedure, Section 21 can be used whether or not the tenant is at fault, which has led to criticism that it could be used as a way of turfing out tenants unfairly.

Under new eviction proposals, which could be finalised later this year, Section 21 will no longer be an option. Landlords will instead have to use Section 8 to regain possession of their property, which has itself come under fire as being a very lengthy and complex process – and is the reason why landlords sometimes favour Section 21.

The positives of new eviction rules

For tenants, the idea behind getting rid of Section 21 is that ‘innocent’ private renters will not be at risk of being evicted unfairly. This will protect those who pay rent on time and are ‘good’ tenants, but perhaps have asked for improvements to their property, for example, and are evicted in retaliation.

It would also help prevent instances where the landlord deems they could get significantly higher rent from new tenants and evicts the existing ones, as landlords will need to have a reason that falls under the new eviction criteria in order to have grounds to be able to get their tenant out.

But what about landlords? While the legislation on the surface seems more geared towards helping renters than property owners, Victoria Valentine, evictions adviser at Landlord Action, believes there are actually some positives for landlords when new eviction powers come into play.

As she points out, the majority of reasons that landlords currently evict their tenants – such as rent arrears, anti-social behaviour, damage or neglect to the property – are already grounds to evict under Section 8.

The reforms will aim to improve the process using a Section 8 order, increasing a landlord’s power to evict, while also improving court proceedings to make the process faster and more efficient.

Landlords will be able to give a tenant two months’ notice should they wish to sell their property or move back in, with other grounds under new eviction rules varying in terms of notice length. Either way, landlords worrying that they will not be able to regain possession of their properties can be reassured that this should not be the case.

A good time for landlords

Victoria Valentine writes: “Under the reforms now going through parliament, the government has promised us a new ‘beefed-up’ anti-social behaviour action plan, meaning the already-present but rarely-utilised Ground 14 for anti-social behaviour will be strengthened.

“And Ministers have assured us that new mandatory grounds for eviction to sell, bad-payers or moving in a family member, will be introduced.

“Looking at the rise in rents driven by the enormous increase in demand for private rented stock coupled with the fact that house prices are on the decline, perhaps there’s never been a better time for the opportunistic landlord?”

She adds: “One could even argue that due to the increased competition for houses, tenants will be more inclined to settle in a property for longer and keep their noses clean, for fear of being exposed as a bad tenant. The alleged ‘no-fault’ Section 21 notice has after all, been a great hiding place for everyone.”

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