Good news for renters across the UK this week as it is announced by the government that they will now be making it illegal for ‘no-fault evictions’ to take place in rental homes. The private rentals white paper also includes a proposed clampdown on unfit homes and plans to tackle unfair landlords.
The government has announced measures that aim to tackle unethical landlords who evict tenants without giving a reason or who let unsafe homes. Published on Thursday, the centrepiece of the private rented sector white paper will outlaw ‘no-fault’ evictions. ‘No-fault’ evictions are currently the leading cause of homelessness in England but are already outlawed in Scotland.
The government first pledged to outlaw ‘no-fault’ evictions over three years ago.
What does this mean for renters across England?
Looking for a quick answer? Check out our drop-down menu below!
- What Is A ‘No Cause’ Eviction?
- Who Rents Their Home And Who Is Most Likely To Be Affected?
- How Does Section 21 Fit Into This?
- How Will The Ban Affect Landlords?
- What Does This Mean For Evictions?
- What Do People Think?
What Is A ‘No Cause’ Eviction?
A ‘no cause’ eviction is when a landlord evicts a tenant without reason.
The paper has been long-delayed but will also set out proposals that will force private landlords to improve the quality of the homes let out and to keep on top of complaints of damp and mould. A fifth of all rented properties are estimated to be of substandard quality.
The bill aims to extend the ‘decent homes standard’ to the private rented sector and will require that landlords keep homes clean, free from serious health and safety hazards, and in a good, functioning state.
The government is also taking other measures to tackle arbitrary and unfair rent increases and are even taking steps to outlaw “no DSS” policies. No DSS policies are when a landlord uses a blanket ban on letting homes to people who receive benefits. As well as this, all tenants will have the right to request having a pet in the home, which landlords will be unable to “unreasonably refuse”.
Who Rents Their Home And Who Is Most Likely To Be Affected?
- Figures show that around 13 million people in the UK rent from a private landlord
- Over a third of private renters live with children
- Approximately 46% of under-35s in England rent from private landlords
- Since 2019 around 230,000 of private renters in England have received no-fault eviction notices
- Single female-led households made up a quarter of those threatened with eviction in England from 2020-21
- Of those threatened with eviction, 32% were single adult males
How Does Section 21 Fit Into This?
Ever since the 1980s, under section 21 of the housing act, private landlords have been legally able to evict tenants with only two months’ notice even if they have no grounds for ending the tenancy. For example, if you have been renting a property for four years and want to sign on for a further twelve months but your landlord gives you a section 21 notice, you would have to leave.
Reasons, why a landlord may pursue a section 21 eviction, include rent arrears, the landlord wanting to sell on the property or re-let at a higher price. Some tenants have even claimed they have been evicted as ‘revenge’ for requestioning maintenance and repairs be performed.
If a tenant chooses not to vacate the premises, then the landlord is forced to evict them.
How Will The Ban Affect Landlords?
With the new system, private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants without giving good legal reason and a long notice. Not only will this new law stop ‘no cause evictions’ but it will also discourage investment in new homes within the private rental sector. This spells good news for councils that have huge waiting lists for social and affordable housing. Landlords may also lose confidence in investing in new homes.
What Does This Mean For Evictions?
Even with the ‘no cause’ evictions banned; landlords can still evict tenants with a section 8 notice. A section 8 notice is used if you’re in rent arrears, have engaged in criminal activity or anti-social behaviour or if you have broken the terms of your tenancy.
Whilst the abolishment of section 21 won’t stop evictions altogether, it does mean that landlords will now have to jump through more hoops in order to evict their tenants. It is also good news for tenants as a section 8 notice is much easier to appeal as in order to enforce it a landlord would need to take you to court.
What Do People Think?
Michael Gove, the secretary for housing and levelling up, has said “For too long many private renters have been at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords who fail to repair homes and let families live in damp, unsafe and cold properties, with the threat of unfair ‘no fault’ evictions orders hanging over them.”
He went on to say that “Our new deal for renters will help to end this injustice by improving the rights and conditions for millions of renters as we level up across the country and deliver on the people’s priorities.”
The proposals are expected to be included in a renter’s reform bill later this year.
Polly Neate, the chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said: “The renter’s reform bill is a game-changer for England’s 11 million private renters. Scrapping unfair evictions will level the playing field. For the first time in a long time, tenants will be able to stand up to bad behaviour instead of living in fear”.
Getting this legislation passed through parliament as soon as possible is critical as it will mean that people will be able to stay in their rented homes for as long as they need to, rather than what suits their landlord.
This covers everything you need to know about ‘no cause’ evictions. If you have any questions, queries or insight into the subject please get in touch!
Alexandra is a junior content producer who enjoys writing articles and finding out more about the property market.