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  • Overview

    In April this year, the Government announced its intention to end no fault evictions. With the consultation now published, the details of those proposals are now beginning to take shape.

    The published consultation is wide-ranging and is described as a ‘generational change’ in residential lettings. The key proposal is the removal of ‘section 21’ evictions, which currently allow landlords to end a tenancy on expiry of the fixed term without giving a specific reason for doing so. Section 21 Housing Act 1988 has long been the first port of call for landlords looking to recover possession of their properties, offering them a flexible and (comparatively) cost-efficient means of ending tenancies.

    As an alternative to section 21, landlords have always been able to use section 8 of the same Act, where they must prove one of a number of statutory grounds for possession. Making an order for possession on some of these grounds is discretionary and there has been the perception among some landlords that the courts have too often exercised this discretion in tenants’ favour (at the landlord’s risk of financial exposure).

    Importantly, with the removal of section 21 the Government is considering broadening the range of section 8 grounds to offer landlords more flexibility in how they manage their properties. Perhaps most crucially, the proposals suggest that landlords should be able to recover possession so that they or their family members can live in a property, and so that they can sell the property. If introduced, these grounds would be a significant comfort for landlords, particularly as many landlords in the sector are private individuals with one or two buy-to-lets who need to retain flexibility over their investments.

    The consultation also touches on the court system, recognising that on average it takes landlords five to six months to recover possession (often while receiving no rental income and paying out legal fees). Issues with delay in the court system go beyond housing possession, but the Government is considering whether certain section 8 grounds could be dealt with via an accelerated procedure, with claims considered without a hearing in straightforward cases. As section 21 already has an accelerated procedure, broadening it to include section 8 would prevent the removal of section 21 increasing landlord’s costs.

    One area the consultation does not address in any detail is property standards. Landlords are required to provide tenants with gas safety information, energy performance information and information on renting in England. The key mechanism for ensuring landlords provide this information is prohibiting them from serving a valid section 21 notice if they do not do so. With section 21 being removed, there is a question mark over how these obligations will be enforced, which (surprisingly) the consultation does not consider. One possibility is tying compliance to the validity of section 8 notices, but that could mean delaying or preventing landlords from recovering possession even if there are breaches of a tenancy agreement, which would be unpopular.

    If the proposed changes go ahead, it will represent a significant re-balancing of power towards tenants, reflecting the considerable growth of the private rented sector over the last decade.

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    Dispute Resolution

    Our objective is to achieve swift, realistic results in the most cost efficient and risk free manner possible. Our Dispute Resolution team specialise in resolving a wide range of disputes for individuals.  

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    Our Commercial Property & Development team give commercially orientated advice and ensure a speedily concluded transaction whether you are purchasing, selling or leasing commercial property.

    Dispute Resolution

    Our team of experienced and highly specialist lawyers includes experts in contractual, commercial and international disputes, insolvency, shareholders’, directors and partnership disputes, in disputes arising from construction/engineering projects and we also act for clients seeking to protect or defend intellectual property/IT rights.

    Property disputes including landlord & tenant and boundary disputes

    We represent clients in all forums including the High Court and County Court, Lands Tribunal, and the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).  All of our property specialists are members of the Property Litigation Association and we have strong working relationships with specialist surveyors and experts, as well as Chancery barristers. Above all, we recognise that the property world is a business in which personal relationships count and we fully address the human as well as the legal dimension of any problem.

Get In Touch

By submitting an enquiry through 'get in touch' your data will only be used to contact you regarding your enquiry. If you would like to receive newsletters from Thomson Snell & Passmore please use the separate form below.

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We respect your privacy and want news to be relevant. To either, click here or update your preferences by emailing us at info@ts-p.co.uk. Your personal data shall be treated in accordance with our & .

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