How Changes to Section 21 Will Impact Landlords and Letting Agents

Last year, the Government consulted on proposed changes to the landlord and tenant eviction system. There are now plans to amend section 21 in the Housing Act under a new Renter’s Reform Bill.

This change will have an impact on both landlords and letting agents and it’s important to update key areas that not only help reduce the risk of having to evict tenants but ensures the appropriate evidence is collected if there is a case to do so.

What is Section 21?

Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 outlines the law regarding the first steps a landlord needs to take to evict a tenant from their property in relation to an assured shorthold tenancy, the most common type of tenancy that private landlords currently offer.

Under the rules as they stand, those renting in the private sector can be evicted by their landlord once the fixed term of their agreement comes to the end. They can be given as little as 8 weeks to vacate the property.

There are more than a 11 million private renters in England and Section 21 has long been seen as unfair by many MPs. Previous Prime Minister Theresa May last year said that renters had the right to be secure in their home and have the confidence to plan for the future. Changes to Section 21 would allow for this.

What Are the Changes?

There has been a good deal of evidence put forward to show that Section 21 has led to an increase in homelessness. While the vast majority of landlords and letting agents act responsibly, this clause in the Housing Act is often used to get rid of tenants without any good reason.

The big change to the act is getting rid of the ‘no-fault evictions’ clause which means that landlords will need to have good reason to end a tenancy and provide evidence. The court system for evicting tenants is also to be speeded up so that landlords are not left waiting too long before getting a decision where there is a good case for eviction.

What Landlords and Letting Agents Need to Do

Since changes to the eviction process were announced in the Queen’s speech, landlords and letting agents have been urged to prepare. This means updating their contracts to reflect the changes in the law. Letting agents may also need to re-educate landlords on what these changes are and how the system will work from now on.

The biggest challenge will be gathering evidence if there is a real case for eviction as this will need to be presented in court. That includes keeping up-to-date documentation and formally recording events that may lead up to an eviction.

For landlords that use letting agents, it’s important to work with someone who is updating their processes in light of the current law changes.

At Graham & Co, we’ve worked hard to ensure that our systems react to the changing legal landscape and that includes proper monitoring and recording of tenants. That means, if there is a case for a tenant to be evicted, we have the evidence to hand to support the legal action that needs to be taken.

If you would like to find out more, contact our team today.