Renters Reform Bill: Section 21s

If you’re a landlord, theres no doubt that you’ll be aware of the Renters Reform Bill that is estimated to pass in October 2024. Many proposals of the bill have left landlords across the country in a state of uncertainty about how these will impact on their future in the property industry. As the Bill progresses through the legislative process, there is a growing anticipation that Section 21 notices may be abolished.

A Section 21 Notice allows a landlord to initiate tenant evictions without providing a specific reason and is often referred to as a 'no-fault' eviction, as landlords are not obligated to provide a specific reason for ending the tenancy. It provides landlords with the ability to evict tenants by issuing a two-month notice once the fixed-term tenancy agreement comes to an end.

So, why is the Section 21 Notice being considered for abolition in the first place? The proposed changes within the Renters Reform Bill, including the elimination of Section 21, are geared towards fostering a fairer and more secure private rental sector. According to Michael Gove, some renters currently experience a "precarious lack of security" under the existing legislation. Additionally, a government consultation highlighted that "some tenants feel reluctant to challenge poor standards due to the risk of eviction without reason." Eliminating Section 21 eviction notices is intended to instill greater confidence and security among renters in their homes while encouraging landlords to exercise transparency and accountability when considering tenant evictions.

If the abolishment of the Section 21 Eviction Notice does happen, landlords are instead expected to utilise the updated Section 8 Notice. The difference between the two is that, to issue a Section 8 eviction notice, a landlord must have specific grounds or reasons for seeking a tenant’s eviction e.g. defaulting on rental payments, breaching of tenancy terms, or anti-social behaviour for example. This can be much more time-consuming and the landlord must provide evidence of the breach to demonstrate that the reason for the eviction is valid.

As the Renters Reform Bill progresses and the fate of Section 21 remains uncertain, as landlords and agencies across the housing sector, we will need to monitor these critical discussions shaping the future of tenant-landlord relations.

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