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No-fault Evictions Abolished in England in Overhaul of Private Rental Market

The Government has today (17 May 2023) announced plans to abolish no-fault evictions in England as part of its wide-ranging plans to reform the private rental sector.

The Renters’ Reform Bill has been introduced to Parliament after a four-year wait and is part of the Government’s 2019 manifesto commitment to empower renters to challenge poor landlords without fear of losing their homes.

The new legislation will make it illegal for landlords to evict tenants without reason. Also known as a Section 21 notice, the practice has been heavily criticised for preventing tenants from complaining about unsatisfactory conditions of properties and contributing to poor standards in the private rented sector.

The Bill is intended to make the private rental system fairer and improve standards. Housing Secretary Michael Gove said the Bill would ensure renters are “protected from the very small minority of rogue landlords who use the threat of no-fault eviction to silence tenants who want to complain about poor conditions”.

“Too many renters are living in damp, unsafe, cold homes, powerless to put things right, and with the threat of sudden eviction hanging over them,” he said.

“This government is determined to tackle these injustices by offering a new deal to those living in the private rented sector; one with quality, affordability and fairness at its heart.”

The Renters’ Reform Bill also makes it illegal for a landlord to refuse to rent properties to benefits claimants or families with children. Tenants will also be given the legal right to request a pet in their home, which a landlord must consider and cannot “unreasonably refuse”.

The new legislation will also:

  • Apply the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector for the first time.
  • Strengthen councils’ enforcement powers and introduce a new requirement for councils to report on enforcement activity to help target criminal landlords.
  • Introduce a new Ombudsman to provide quicker and cheaper resolutions to tenancy disputes.
  • Establish a new online property portal where landlords must demonstrate compliance with legal requirements.

Dubbed by some as ‘anti-landlord’, the Government maintains that the reforms will deliver a fairer system for both the 11 million tenants and 2 million landlords that currently make up the private rented sector in England.

The Government says that the new legislation will make it easier for landlords to recover properties when needed, for example, if they want to sell their property or when tenants wilfully do not pay rent.

Notice periods will also be reduced where tenants have been irresponsible, such as breaching their tenancy agreement or causing damage to the property.

The reforms will also strengthen powers to evict anti-social tenants, broadening the disruptive and harmful activities that can lead to eviction and making it quicker to evict a tenant acting anti-socially.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), said: “We welcome the Government’s pledge to ensure landlords can swiftly recover properties from anti-social tenants and those failing to pay their rent. Plans to digitise court hearings will also improve the speed at which legitimate possession cases are processed.

“The NRLA will continue to work with the Government to ensure the detail of the Bill is fair for responsible landlords and tenants alike.”

Landlord and Tenant Lawyers

If you are a landlord and want more information on the Renters’ Reform Bill, please get in touch with Eric Robinson Solicitors today. We have many years’ experience offering advice to commercial and residential landlords and we will be able to help with whatever issues you may face.

To find out more about how we can help you, please call us on 02380 218000 to speak to one of the team.

This blog post is not intended to be taken as advice. Information could have changed since the article was published. If you are seeking legal advice, please get in touch with our team of solicitors to discuss your matter.