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Short-notice evictions to be banned in England

Written by: Max Liu
Landlords will not be able to evict tenants at short notice without good reason, the government has announced.

The government plans to repeal Section 21 of the Housing Act (1988), which allows landlords to evict tenants at the end of their fixed-term, and put an end to ‘no-fault’ evictions.

The change in the law would, the government said, “protect tenants from having to make frequent and short notice moves, and will enable them to plan for the future.”

No fault evictions are the leading cause of rising homelessness in England, according to Generation Rent, which campaigns for tenants’ rights.

Under the government’s plans, however, court proceedings will be sped up to help landlords evict tenants who fall behind with their rent or behave anti-socially.

‘Stability really matters’

Housing secretary James Brokenshire said the change in the law was in part driven by the increase in the number of families with children and older people living in rented accommodation.

Speaking on BBC’s Today programme, Brokenshire said: “Having stability really matters (to them) and so there’s no inhibition on making a complaint.”

He added that under Section 21 tenants may have been “concerned through a no-fault eviction that they may be thrown out.”

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Scrapping no-fault evictions is a groundbreaking shake-up of the private rented sector and will better protect the almost 5 million households who live in it.

“It means renters – including families – will be able to put down stable roots where they live and prevent landlords from evicting tenants for simply complaining.”

Landlords need confidence

However, landlord representatives have been critical of the government’s plans.

David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, said: “With the demand for private rented homes continuing to increase, we need the majority of good landlords to have confidence to invest in new homes.

“This means ensuring they can swiftly repossess properties for legitimate reasons such as rent arrears, tenant anti-social behaviour or wanting to sell them. This needs to happen before any moves are made to end Section 21.”

“For all the talk of greater security for tenants, that will be nothing if the homes to rent are not there in the first place. We call on the government to act with caution.”

The government said it plans to launch a consultation on the details.

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