Government to give six months’ notice for Section 21 ban

The government has pledged to give six months’ notice before transitioning to a new system where Section 21 is abolished and tenancies are simplified.

As well as the much-publicised ban of Section 21, the government has opted to move to a single system of periodic tenancies in the White Paper entitled ‘A Fairer Private Rented Sector’.

This will mean that fixed term tenancies will be scrapped, where as it stands tenants are liable to pay the rent for the duration of the term but they can’t be evicted using Section 21. Once everything moves to the periodic model tenants will always be able to depart after giving notice.

A ban on Section 21 was first promised in April 2019, and the government has attracted a lot of criticism from housing charities for seemingly dragging its feet on the ban.

The government said: “We will allow time for a smooth transition to the new system, supporting tenants, landlords and agents to adjust, while making sure that tenants can benefit from the new system as soon as possible. We will implement the new system in two stages, ensuring all stakeholders have sufficient notice to implement the necessary changes.

“We will provide at least six months’ notice of our first implementation date, after which all new tenancies will be periodic and governed by the new rules. Specific timing will depend on when Royal Assent is secured.

“To avoid a two-tier rental sector, and to make sure landlords and tenants are clear on their rights, all existing tenancies will transition to the new system on a second implementation date. After this point, all tenants will be protected from Section 21 eviction. We will allow at least twelve months between the first and second dates.”

To accompany these changes a new Ombudsman will be established in order to ease the burden to courts, which all private landlords will be made to join.

Alongside the Ombudsman the government will look at how rent repayment orders can be expanded to enable tenants to be repaid rent if they end up living in non-decent homes.

Tom Mundy, chief executive at lettings platform Goodlord, said: “[Some] changes are causes for concern, such as moving all renters onto a single system of periodic tenancies and how the scrapping of Section 21 will work in practice.”

Following the reforms landlords will only be able to increase rents once a year, while tenants will be able to challenge unjustified increases through the First-tier Tribunal. This change is designed to stop landlords from effectively kicking out their tenants by rapidly increasing rents.

The government said it would consider amending the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 to help local authorities tackle illegal evictions, for example permitting local councils to issue civil penalties for cases of illegal evictions and harassment; and looking at how local councils can be supported to work effectively with the police.

With so many changes taking place, Guy Coggrave, managing director of surveyor firm GSC Grays, warned that government plans could drive landlords out of the sector and see more properties used as holiday lets.

He said: “Landlords will need to consider the implications of the legislation carefully before renewing any existing tenancies or offering properties to let in the future.

“We expect this will lead to more properties being sold or used as holiday lets and therefore lost to the private rental sector, which conversely may lead to increased rents and living pressures for renters.”

On a more positive note, Paul Wootton, Nationwide Building Society’s director of home propositions, said the reforms are likely to drive up the quality of housing across the UK.

He said: “As a buy-to-let lender we are keen to understand more about how the changes will be implemented, to ensure we fulfil our important role of balancing the needs of landlords as well as tenants. We are keen for the legislation to be delivered as soon as possible as the rising cost of living is continuing to exacerbate the issues the Renters Reform Bill is looking to address.”

Comments 6

  1. Some sensible amendments but in my view a serious reduction in the property owners rights that I am sure will encourage any landlord who bothers to read this to exit the market.
    We have 2 high end let’s here in Cornwall
    Knowing what was coming we issued section 21 evictions on both at the end of what was 5 year tenancies on both.
    No problem with the tenants – only with the leftie shelter and generation rent and now the government who persist in their efforts to socialise private rented landlords.
    We will never let the properties again which is a shame for the 22k on Cornwall housing list.
    AIRBB here we come.
    If government do similar things to holiday let’s we will simply occupy ourselves and just enjoy capital appreciation.
    Feel very sorry for those stuck in temporary accommodation but my property is my property not theirs.

  2. Shocking! I always believed that a contract was legally binding, however, looks like the government can just cancel all Shorthold Tenancy Agreements. One rule for tenants and another for landlords. Nothing new here; just going back to the days before STA’s when tenants could only be evicted if the landlord or a member of his family wanted to move in. I thoroughly believe that the next step will be that if a landlord wants to sell he has to give the tenant first refusal at a reduced price (as was in the past before STA’s.) Government have forgotten that it was STA’s that opened the market for so many to invest in properties to rent whether with a buy to rent mortgage or cash. This White Paper will do nothing to tackle rogue landlords who rent illegally but certainly will push more properties into the holiday let business. Thousands of holiday lets nationwide are rented out for 6 months every year especially here in Cornwall to locals as a breathing space to find a more permanent home but this will no longer be possible.

  3. Good points Liz

    Sadly this useless vindictive government will have no memory of the points you raise Liz but you are absolutely right.

    I have just had a forecast of likely holiday rental income for just one of our 3 houses… the biggest one it’s true..
    Prediction is it will take just 6 weeks of holiday rent to equal a whole year of short hold tenancy rent.
    Can’t imagine why I have not done this before.
    You don’t need to do anything yourself if don’t want to.
    Management companies everywhere on Google just desperate to get in on the act.

    1. I agree holiday lets are the way to go but I have been carefully reading all of the small minded bad publicity regarding second home and holiday let owners here in Cornwall. As I see it most holiday lets here in Cornwall are, in fact, owned by locals. My daughter was widowed with 2 small children when she was just 28 years old. She converted her garage into a small flat for herself as soon as the children were old enough to leave home. She now rents her house (with an amazing sea view) as a holiday let. I know of several families who do just this simply to supplement their income.

  4. Not much call for holiday lets in Costa del Rochdale unfortunately! A lot of the white paper is laudable but it is very lacking in detail where the devil lurks. For example, they say you will be still be able to evict a tenant to sell up or move in yourself but there is no mechanism outlined. What hoops will you have to jump through to actually offload your property?. Lots of other things are also left hanging as well. If everything is fully consulted on and thrashed out it will take years to sort out. The flagship commitment is banning of section 21 so expect this first (to keep shelter and Generation rent happy) without all the checks and balances that are supposed to mitigate it and help landlords being put in place.

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