So-called ‘no fault evictions’ are set to be abolished under new government plans aimed at tackling rogue landlords.
The new Renters’ (Reform) Bill will eliminate the right to evict tenants without having to prove fault.
Communities Secretary Michael Gove said the measure is aimed at a “minority” of landlords who mistreat their tenants, as he pledged to crackdown on “renegade” landlords.
Under current laws, Section 21 notices allow landlords to evict tenants without having to establish any wrongdoing on the part of the tenant. This right is set to be abolished by the Renters’ (Reform) Bill, which is to be introduced to Parliament today.
In place of no-fault evictions, landlords will instead be able to evict tenants only in certain circumstances, such as when selling a property, housing a relative or due to tenants’ antisocial behaviour.
Mr. Gove wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “There is a small minority of landlords who mistreat tenants, using the threat of eviction to silence complaints about substandard living conditions and demanding exorbitant rent hikes. Although also a minority, these rogue landlords impair the reputation of the private rented sector, which should be celebrated for the variety and quality of services it offers.” He added: “Supporting the overwhelming majority of good landlords is also necessary to give tenants the best possible future.”
The court system will also be digitised and a new ombudsman will be appointed to expedite the resolution of disputes between landlords and tenants.
The private rental sector in the United Kingdom has doubled in size since 2002, with 11 million people now living in rented housing.
The Bill is the latest in a series of government measures targeting private landlords. In 2015, tax relief on buy-to-let mortgages was abolished; in 2016 a 3% stamp duty surcharge was introduced for additional property purchases; and the government has imposed plans to implement minimum energy performance certificate standards, costing landlords up to £10,000 per property in fees.
Property market experts say the reforms are likely to result in more landlords selling their rental properties and exiting the rental industry as it becomes more difficult to evict tenants lawfully and due to the increasing costs.