The UK Government today, followed the Welsh Government announcement on the weekend, that it is intending to abolish Section 21 Notices within the private rented sector, as well as a reforming Section 8 notices. Should consultations show the public support this, it could become law by the end of 2019 and is being talked about as ‘the biggest change to the private rental sector in a generation’.
Section 21 evictions have been linked to one of the biggest causes of family homelessness, however, this will impact the entire rental sector in both England and Wales.
We hope that with the support of landlord bodies there will be a robust legal framework put in place, with a straightforward and swift possession process and for tenants, an improvement of security and future-proofing their tenancies. A combination of this could help to deliver a more stable sector in which to invest.
If you own a property in England or Wales, landlords would have to provide a ‘concrete, evidenced reason already specified in law’ in order to end a tenancy. Whilst in the majority of cases there is no need for a Section 21 to be used, the government will be providing greater clarity on the Section 8 reform and we will keep you updated as this progresses.
The need for private rented homes is continuing to increase and therefore as a result, tenants have been given additional protections in order to make renting a more secure option, as renting is becoming a popular lifestyle choice.
Section 8 notices are used when a tenant has fallen into arrears, has been involved in criminal or anti-social behaviour or has broken the terms of the rent agreement, such as damaging property. The government, have said they will amend Section 8 notices to also allow landlords to use this for landlords if they want to sell the property or to take occupation of the property themselves.
The government believes this will protect responsible tenants with ‘long term certainty’, and by abolishing these evictions, tenants will be able to decide when they leave a property, although they will still need to provide you with the appropriate legal notice (length of notice to be confirmed).
Unlike Section 21, if a tenant is served with a Section 8 notice they are able to challenge these in many cases.
This would also mean that there would no longer be a need for a fixed term tenancy, with most contracts being set up on an initial 6 or 12 month Assured Shorthold Tenancy and then on to a monthly-rolling (periodic) contract.
As you are part of Seraph Property Management, we keep at the forefront of this legislation, our Director, Douglas Haig, who is also Vice-Chairman of the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) which is a landlord representative organisation, will be consulting with the wider landlord community as well as being able to have an opportunity to represent landlords to the government as they move forward with this legislation. In fact, he was at the Labour conference this weekend and managed to have a meeting with the First Minister Mark Drakeford to find out more details and put the point of view of landlords to him.
Scotland has already abolished Section 21 Notices, so we can also look to this to try and predict how this will be implemented across England and Wales. However, Seraph Property Management has always avoided Section 21 notices where possible and unlike many other agents is experienced in the use of Section 8 notices. Whilst this will be a fundamental shakeup of the sector Seraph Property Management will work to understand the changes and ensure they have as minimal an impact on your personal circumstances as possible.
It was also announced last week that Tenant Fees will be banned in Wales from 1st September, so whilst this is a big year for landlords and agents, as your managing agent, we will keep you informed and up to date as this develops.
Also, if you are interested in some of the campaigns that the RLA is doing to support landlords then you can look here, at this time, more members will further their ability to support the needs of landlords.