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No Fault Eviction – What You Need to Know

We take a look at what a no fault eviction means, the surrounding legalities, how they may evolve in the future and what tenants and landlords need to consider should this become a reality. 

What is a No Fault Eviction? 

A no fault eviction is when a landlord serves their tenant with a section 21 notice at the end of their tenancy period. It allows the landlord to regain possession of their property without having to give a specific reason for the eviction. 

If you are considering serving a section 21 or have recently received one and would like legal support, our experienced eviction lawyers are here to help you explore the intricacies of property law and provide valuable legal advice and guidance.

The Legalities

In order to successfully serve a section 21 notice, there are various legalities you need to follow to ensure it is valid. If not, it can be contested and the tenant might have a defence to possession proceedings. To be valid, the section 21 must: 

  • Give the tenant at least two months’ notice (which begins when the tenant receives it, not when it is sent). 
  • It must be served in writing, ideally with a copy for each individual tenant, and not via email or over the phone. Each tenant must be named on the notice. 
  • Depending on the length of the tenancy, you may have been legally obligated to provide an energy performance certificate and a copy of the ‘How to Rent’ booklet. 
  • Require the tenants to sign and return a copy to the landlord(s). 
  • Ensure that the notice is not served following a complaint about the property. 
  • Ensure that any holding deposits have been properly protected, and that no prohibited payments have been taken. 
  • Be served after the first four months of the tenancy.

It’s also important to keep photocopies for your own records. If any of these above points have been breached, then the S21 notice has not been served correctly and could be deemed invalid. 

Are No Fault Evictions Changing? 

Currently, a section 21 notice can be served to a tenant nearing the end of their tenancy, asking them to vacate the property without needing to highlight a specific reason. The Renters (Reform) Bill supports the abolition of section 21 evictions, as under the current legislation, some renters face a severe lack of security. The UK Government supports this reform and it was passed by the House of Commons in April 2024. You can read more about this change in our overhaul of the private rental market blog post.

However, with a general election taking place in July 2024, this reform will be placed on hold until after the election has commenced. 

If in the future, the section 21 reform is passed by The House of Lords and subsequently abolished, landlords would be required to give a valid reason for eviction, serving a section 8 notice instead. The new regulations have been devised with an aim to empower tenants to “challenge poor practice and unfair rent increases without fear of eviction”. 

What Do Landlords Need to Consider if the Law Changes?

It is important to note that although change may be coming, landlords still need to adhere to the current section 21 legalities as mentioned above, as failing to meet the requirements may mean a no fault eviction cannot proceed successfully. 

If The Renters (Reform) Bill is legalised, it contains plans to amend section 8 in tandem to abolishing section 21, to ensure that landlords will still be able to evict a tenant under ‘reasonable’ circumstances. This will mean that landlords can serve notice if, for example, antisocial behaviour or damage has occurred, there are rent arrears, they want to sell their property or want a family member to move in instead. Essentially, it will simply require landlords to provide a valid reason for eviction to their existing tenants. 

Tenant Rights and Protections in the UK 

Although the law may change in the future to offer tenants more security when it comes to eviction, currently, tenants who are served a section 21 notice can contest it, but only if it can be shown that the correct legal procedure was not followed. If you would like support in identifying these criteria based on your own circumstances, please get in contact with your nearest Eric Robinson branch

How Eric Robinson Solicitors Can Help 

At Eric Robinson Solicitors, we have a highly experienced team of lawyers who specialise in property law. We are available to help you understand the complexities of your rental agreement and eviction notice from both a landlord and tenant point of view, and can assist in all aspects of no fault evictions. 

For more information, please contact your closest branch using the links below. 

Winchester, Hedge End, Southampton, Lymington, Richmond Upon Thames and Chandler’s Ford