Renters’ Reform Bill: what are ‘no fault’ Section 21 evictions and when will they be banned?

Prince Charles announced that the Government will introduce legislation to strengthen tenants’ rights and ensure safer, better-quality homes. The Renters’ Reform Bill was one of the 38 Bills presented during the State Opening of Parliament. It will abolish Section 21 evictions “no fault” and strengthen landlords rights to possession. It will also seek to create a fair and effective market for tenants and landlords. Today’s speech by Prince Charles, on behalf of The Queen, outlined a proposed ban on Section 21 notices. This will be welcomed by tenants and campaigners. The Queen’s Speech highlights priority areas that the Government should address at the beginning of each parliamentary year. What are Section 21 Evictions? If you are a private landlord, you can ask for you to leave by issuing a Section 21 notice or Section 8 notice. This notice can be issued if the landlord has a reason to evict you, such as rent arrears or damage to the property, or if there have been neighbor complaints. A Section 21 notice is often referred to as a “no fault eviction”, as the landlord doesn’t have to give any reason for the eviction. Tenants have only two months to leave a Section 21 notice. Most landlords assume tenants will move out within two months of receiving a Section 21 notice. However, landlords must apply for eviction to the court after the notice period has expired. The court process can take anywhere from a few weeks up to several months. Aren’t Section 21 notices still illegal? In April 2019, the Government made a commitment to end Section 21 notices. In March 2020, the Government granted a temporary pause that extended the eviction notice period from 2 months to 3 months. The initial ban was extended to September 21, 2020. Landlords were required to give tenants six-month notice periods. The measures were lifted on 31 May 2021, and notice periods for tenants were reduced to just four months starting 1 June 2021. READ MORERenting In London: ‘It’s Time to Put No-Fault Eviction Ban Promises into Action’Renting In Berlin: How Living in Berlin Compares to Being a Tenant in London. The average UK house price reaches GBP286,000, but the market will ‘come back to Earth’ as the cost of living rises. The long-awaited “no-fault” evictions ban was to be announced in autumn 2021. However, this was pushed back to spring 2022. In February 2022, the Government published its Levelling Up White Paper. It reaffirmed its commitment to scrapping Section 21 notices as well as bringing forward Renters’ Reform Bill. What is the Renters Reform Bill? The Renters Reform Bill is expected include major reforms to the private rental sector, a national registry of landlords, and an abrogation of Section 21 notices. The Queen’s Speech today mentioned reforms and the scrapping of Section 21 notices. However, a national registry of landlords was not. The Government is expected later this year to present its future leglishment proposals – a White Paper – for the Renters Reform Bill. How has the rental industry reacted to today’s speech? Charities and industry bodies have welcomed the mention of a Renters Reform Bill in today’s speech. Generation Rent director Alicia Kennedy said that renters have been waiting for three years for the government’s decision to end insidious Section 21 evictions. “Finally, legislation appears to be on the way. “It is crucial that any new tenancy system reduces unwanted moves and gives renters confidence to challenge bad landlord practices. The plans also address the need for regulation of private landlords with a new Ombudsman, a property portal, and a requirement that all tenants meet the Decent Homes Standard. While we need more information on each, they are essential if private renters want to effectively exercise their rights. Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), stated that the Government has accepted that reforms to rented sector must strengthen landlords’ ability to deal with anti-social tenants as well as those in arrears. “While we support the idea of an Ombudsman to reduce the number possession cases that must be brought to the court, this is not a substitute for proper reform. Private landlords can take nearly a year to repossess a property through courts if they have a valid reason to do so. This is unacceptable. “A spokesperson for London Mayor, said that the Mayor is pleased with the Government’s decision not to delay the long-promised legislation banning section 21 ‘no blame’ evictions. “This commitment is testament the hard work of tenants and campaigners, who have waited three long years for Ministers not to honor their promises. “However, the spokesperson for the mayor has also reiterated Sadiq Khan’s calls for private rent control in the capital. The spokesperson for the Mayor of London said that the Government should have used Queen’s Speech to address the high cost of renting. “The Mayor should be given the power to institute a two-year rent freeze in London as a first step towards delivering rent control systems that make renting more affordable.” “Giving the Mayor the power to curb spiralling rents in London would make a huge impact and help create a better and more equitable London.