What is a Section 21 Notice?

Category: Dispute Resolution

Section 21 Notice (or ‘no-fault’ notice) which a landlord can serve on a tenant requiring possession of the property. The notice provides the tenant with a period of two months in which to vacate the property. Subsequently, if the tenant fails to vacate the property the landlord can issue possession proceedings.

A Section 21 Notice is typically used by landlords where they wish to regain possession of their property to sell it. However, the predominant driving force behind the consultation is to prevent “unfair evictions”, more commonly known as revenge evictions. We see this type of eviction occur where a tenant reports an issue to their landlord. In turn, the landlord serves the tenant with a section 21 notice.

What are the Government’s Plans?

Yesterday the Government announced its plans to protect renters by launching a consultation on ending the laws surrounding the Section 21 notice.

The Government’s proposal is to abolish the Section 21 no-fault notice. It confirmed landlords would still be able to end tenancies where there are legitimate reasons. The reasons included and scope is currently unknown. However, indications are that it will include grounds where the landlord wishes to sell or move into the property.

Why is there a consultation?

The Government wishes to provide tenants with long-term certainty and abolish what they claim to be unethical practices. The Housing Secretary has stated there is evidence that shows “section 21 notices” are the biggest cause of family homelessness.

What does this mean for tenants and landlords alike?

Should the Government’s consultation result in Section 21 Notices being abolished, tenants will benefit from the increased protection. Tenants will no longer live in fear that if they report issues, they will result in a Section 21 Notice.

For landlords it will make the process of gaining possession of the property much harder. They would no longer be able to gain the possession without the tenant being at fault. This is likely to have the greatest impact on those with investment properties which require possession in order to sell it. Especially where they are struggling to pay the mortgage.

In order to gain possession landlords may have to rely on a section 8 notice, which typically can only be served when the tenant has breached the tenancy agreement. The National Landlord Association has claimed that landlords lack faith in the section 8 process as, on average, it took an additional 41 days for its members to gain possession in comparison to a section 21 notice procedure.

What next?

Here at Nash & Co Solicitors LLP, our Dispute Resolution team can advise landlords on their options regarding possession of their property. Please call us on 01752 827089.