The government is on a mission to ban private landlords from evicting tenants at short notice without good reason. Section 21 notices in their current form allow landlords to evict tenants without reason after their fixed-term period ends but according to the Housing Secretary such evictions are one of the biggest causes of homelessness. Under the government’s new mission, landlords will have to provide concrete and evidenced reasons already specified in law in order to bring tenancies to an end with the aim of preventing unfair evictions. (Click here for Zoopla’s top tips for landlords.)
Without stating the obvious, this new proposed change will not go down well with current landlords and may well put off potential would be landlords too. It is of course important to explore both sides of the coin.
A survey by Citizens Advice suggests that tenants who made a formal complaint had a 46% chance of being evicted within the next 6 months. The resulting fear of eviction discourages raising complaints relating to disrepair or poor living conditions .
Landlords will argue that they are forced to take the Section 21 route because they have no confidence in the courts to settle possession claims (for example in the case of non-payment of rent) and feel that the system is loaded towards tenants. As it stands, tenants can be given as little as 8 weeks’ notice after a fixed-term contract comes to an end. Landlords will no doubt feel that the proposed changes would create a new system of indefinite tenancies and the government should focus on improving the court process instead.
Time will tell whether this proposed change will affect the buy to let market but at a time when the market is somewhat nervous with the “B” word still floating around, it is certainly not helping confidence levels.