The Private Rental Sector (PRS)

Are you a residential landlord or tenant?

The Housing Act 1988 is one of the leading statutes governing property law in England, laying out the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. In addition to the rights within the law, landlords and tenants will be bound by the tenancy agreement which they both sign prior to commencement of the tenancy.

The right for a landlord to regain possession of their property:

The Housing Act 1988 wanted to encourage more people to rent out their properties. The Act granted landlords far greater flexibility in matters such as rent and possession. There are two ways in which a landlord can regain possession of their property:

  1. Section 8 allows a landlord to regain possession as a result of a failure/breach by the tenant in accordance with Schedule 2 of the Act such as; rent arrears (ground 8) or anti-social behaviour (ground 14). A Section 8 notice can be served upon the tenant at any time giving the tenant two weeks notice to vacate the property.
  2. A Section 21 notice is known as the ‘non-fault notice’ because the landlord can automatically regain possession of the property without having to give a reason and/or without the tenant being in breach. A landlord must give the tenant a two month notice period when serving a Section 21 notice.

If a tenant fails to vacate following a Section 8 or Section 21 notice:

Following the expiry of either a Section 8 or a Section 21 notice, a landlord is entitled to commence possession proceedings through the courts against the tenant in attempt to obtain a possession order which is legally enforceable.

Section 21 notices to be abolished:

The Government has confirmed its intentions to repeal Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 in the May 2022 Queen’s Speech, as originally set out in the Renters’ Reform Bill released in late 2019, and “strengthen the rights of tenants.” The Government has also proposed strengthening the grounds for repossession under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 as a result of the removal of Section 21. This would not directly replace Section 21, but will strengthen the rights of landlords under the current Section 8 provisions.

Impact on landlords:

There is uncertainty for landlords as the proposals do not address how a landlord will go about regaining possession of their property once the fixed term of their tenancy agreement expires. Landlords may find it more difficult to evict their tenants where the tenant has not breached their tenancy agreement and landlords will have to provide valid reasoning when evicting their tenants.

Impact on tenants:

Tenants will have more security following the implementation of the proposals as the tenancy cannot be terminated through no fault of their own meaning that private renter families will have greater financial security. Tenants will be able to choose to end the tenancy, as long as they provide sufficient notice to the landlord.

For further advice, please contact Amelia Calton:

01743 260114.

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