Banning Section 21:
The Housing Secretary James Brokenshire has made a statement
to the House of Commons, also read out in the Lords, giving more information
about the forthcoming housing reforms in England.
This follows his announcement last week that the Government
plans to consult on banning Section 21, and a subsequent announcement in Wales
that Section 21 was to be scrapped there. Similar reforms were brought in in
Scotland in December 2017.
In his statement to the House this week James Brokenshire
said that the forthcoming Government consultation will be “the start of a
longer process” which will then introduce reforms to the housing market.
In his statement Mr Brokenshire said:
“You will have seen that last week I announced reforms to
the legislative framework governing how private tenancies can be ended in
England to improve security in the private rented sector for both tenants and
landlords. This announcement followed my department’s recent consultation on
‘Overcoming the Barriers to Longer Tenancies’. I also published the
government’s response to this consultation.
“The private rented sector has changed dramatically in the
last twenty years, and the sector needs to keep pace with these changes. The
number of people who live in the private rented sector has doubled, and it is
home to more families with children and older people. These households need
stability and security in their home.
“The current legislative framework leaves tenants feeling
insecure. They can be asked to leave their homes, with as little as two months’
notice, without the landlord providing any reason, using eviction proceedings
under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. This sense of insecurity can
profoundly affect the ability of renters to plan for the future, to manage
their finances or to put down roots in their local communities.
“The government intends to establish a fairer system for
both tenants and landlords by legislating to repeal Section 21 of the Housing Act
1988. Bringing an end to so-called ‘no fault evictions’, would mean that a
tenant cannot be forced to leave their home unless the landlord can prove a
specified ground, such as rent arrears or breach of tenancy agreement. It would
provide tenants with more stability and protect them from having to make
frequent and short notice moves. It would also empower tenants to challenge
their landlord about poor property standards where this occurs, without the
worry of being evicted as a result of making a complaint.
“The private rented sector must also remain a stable and
secure market for landlords to continue to invest in. The legislation I intend
to introduce will include measures that provide landlords with additional
safeguards to successfully manage their properties. We will strengthen the
existing grounds for eviction available to landlords under Section 8 of the
Housing Act 1988. This will allow the landlord to regain their property when
they want to sell it or move into it themselves.
“It is important that landlords can have confidence that the
court system works for them in instances when there is no other option but to
seek possession of their property through the courts. That is why this
announcement includes improvements to court processes, to make it quicker and
smoother for landlords to regain their properties when they have a legitimate
reason to do so.
“Removing no-fault evictions is a significant step. This
announcement is the start of a longer process to introduce these reforms. We
want to build a consensus on a package of reforms to improve security for
tenants while providing landlords with the confidence that they have the tools
“We will launch a consultation on the details of a better system that will work for landlords and tenants. The government will collaborate with and listen to landlords, tenants and others in the private rented sector to develop a new deal for renting. Ministers will also work with other types of housing providers outside of the private rented sector who use these powers and use the consultation to make sure the new system works effectively.