Private rental sector set for biggest change in a generation

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Private rental sector
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James Brokenshire has announced that private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants from their homes at short notice and without good reason, in the biggest change to the private rental sector for a generation

As part of a complete overhaul of the sector, the government has outlined plans to consult on new legislation to abolish Section 21 evictions – so called ‘no-fault’ evictions. This will bring an end to private landlords uprooting tenants from their homes with as little as 8 weeks’ notice after the fixed-term contract has come to an end.

Many tenants live with the worry of being evicted at short notice or continue to live in poor accommodation for fear they will be asked to leave if they complain about problems with their home.

The private rented sector has grown rapidly over recent years, with more than 4 million people now living in privately rented accommodation – the vast majority of whom are responsible tenants who pay their rent on time and take good care of the property.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Everyone renting in the private sector has the right to feel secure in their home, settled in their community and able to plan for the future with confidence.

“But millions of responsible tenants could still be uprooted by their landlord with little notice, and often little justification.

“This is wrong – and today we’re acting by preventing these unfair evictions. Landlords will still be able to end tenancies where they have legitimate reasons to do so, but they will no longer be able to unexpectedly evict families with only 8 weeks’ notice.”

James Brokenshire said: “By abolishing these kinds of evictions, every single person living in the private rented sector will be empowered to make the right housing choice for themselves – not have it made for them.

“And this will be balanced by ensuring responsible landlords can get their property back where they have proper reason to do so.

“Everyone has a right to the opportunities they need to build a better life. For many, this means having the security and stability to make a place truly feel like home without the fear of being evicted at a moments’ notice.

“We are building a fairer housing market that truly works for everyone.”

Under the proposals, landlords will have to provide a concrete, evidenced reason already specified in law for bringing tenancies to an end a marked step-change from the current rules which allows landlords to evict tenants at any time after the fixed-term contract has come to an end, and without specifying a reason.

And to ensure responsible landlords have confidence they will be able to end tenancies where they have legitimate reason to do so, ministers will amend the Section 8 eviction process, so property owners are able to regain their home should they wish to sell it or move into it.

Court processes will also be expedited so landlords are able to swiftly and smoothly regain their property in the rare event of tenants falling into rent arrears or damaging the property – meaning landlords have the security of knowing disputes will be resolved quickly.

Ministers will also work with other types of housing providers outside of the private rented sector who use these powers and use the consultation to make sure the new system works effectively.

The news comes just weeks before the Tenant Fees Act takes effect on 1 June, which will save tenants across England at least £240m a year – up to £70 per household – by banning unfair letting fees and capping tenancy deposits at 5 weeks’ rent.

The new deal for renters is part of a wider package of government reforms aimed at rebalancing the relationship between tenants and landlords to deliver a fairer, better quality and more affordable private rental sector.

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