What is No-Fault Eviction?
No-Fault Eviction occurs when a landlord serves a section 21 notice on their tenant, giving them at least 2 months’ notice to vacate the property, as long as certain conditions have been met. These types of evictions are controversial because the landlord need not provide any reason for serving the notice, which can leave tenants in a vulnerable position, making it difficult for them to make long term arrangements, such as in relation to employment or schooling. Once the two-month period has passed, the court is bound to order the eviction of the tenant, if the tenant has not left during the notice period.
Abolition of No-Fault Eviction: What does this mean for tenants?
An obvious consequence of No-Fault Eviction is that landlords will no longer be able to hide behind the non-necessity of providing a reason for serving a notice on their tenant. In some cases, landlords have on occasion served a section 21 notice from the point at which a tenant begins complaining about the condition of a property. The only bar to a landlord doing this currently is if an Improvement Notice has been served by the Local Authority on the landlord. Some campaigners have complained that landlords have been empowered to effectively bully their tenants into submission. This reform aims to empower renters to raise issues relating to poor living conditions and to challenge possession proceedings that they believe lack legal grounding under the incoming reforms. It will also allow tenants to end their tenancies freely in cases of poor living conditions or changes in their circumstances.
Abolition of No-Fault Eviction: What does this mean for landlords?
The changes will see the introduction of ‘Reformed Grounds for Possession’. The reformed grounds set out all the reasons for which a landlord can seek possession and outlines the notice period required for each ground, should it be invoked by the landlord. They include provision from anti-social behaviour or rental arrears to landlords wanting to move back into the property or wanting to sell the property, amongst others. Whilst the reforms continue to somewhat protect any landlord with legitimate reasons for seeking possession, it could lead to more expensive and drawn-out processes of eviction. Should a tenant refuse to leave or challenge the ground for their eviction, landlords will be forced to attend court and provide evidence that their chosen ground applies in the circumstances. For a breakdown of all the proposed grounds for possession, including their explanations and required notice periods, the government website discusses the proposed bill.
Tenant vs Landlord: Who Wins?
Clearly, the bill will benefit the tenant more than it will benefit the landlord relative to the current law. It provides the tenant with more flexibility, freedom and security. Paradoxically, it could deter landlords from wanting to go through the process of seeking possession as it could entail having to prove their grounds for eviction in court, which can be both stressful and expensive.
How can our property litigation solicitors help?
If you are a landlord and would like advice on seeking possession under the current law, or you are a tenant and would like to either challenge a notice for eviction or seek to end your own tenancy, please do get in touch by contacting us on +44 (0) 207 228 0017 or via the form below.