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Consultation launched on Tenancy Reform in England

Sunday 21 July 2019

As Prime Minister Theresa May leaves office the UK Government has launched a 12-week consultation on Tenancy Reform in England, setting out greater detail about what the Government envisage change will look like.

In April, the Government outlined that they want to prevent private landlords from evicting tenants at short notice and without good reason, amend the Section 8 eviction procedure and expedite the court process so landlords are able to swiftly and smoothly regain their property where tenants fall into rent arrears or cause damage. More info...

The Government has detailed that it seeks to amend the Housing Act 1988 to remove the Assured Shorthold Tenancy regime from the legislation, in order to abolish the use of a Section 21 notice for eviction.

The consultation seeks views on:

  • The impact of removing Assured Shorthold Tenancies
  • Under which circumstance (if any) a tenancy should be ended without fault of the tenant
  • If the proposed reforms to the Housing Act 1988 should reflect the private rented sector and social rented sector
  • How existing grounds for possession can be used more effectively or reformed
  • How new grounds should be added where the landlord wants to sell or move into the property
  • How Section 8 possession orders can be considered more effectively by the courts

View the consultation

The consultation outlines that any change will not be retrospective, unaffecting existing tenancies. There are a wide range of open questions in order to start a discussion about what reforms to Section 8 grounds should look like and whether students renting property should be treated differently.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government are working with the Ministry of Justice on reforms to the court process. This includes ensuring it works better, moving to greater digitalisation and the accelerated procedure.

With the effects of the tenant fees ban having not yet being felt the Government cannot underestimate the impact their proposals could have on the sector and landlords operating within it.

'At a time when the industry is facing many challenges and changes the Government cannot underestimate the impact the removal of Section 21 will have on landlord confidence.

'Strengthening Section 8 is essential, and it must move to a system of mandatory grounds with anti-social behaviour and rent arrears being top of the priority list. The success of the private rented sector has been built on the fact there is flexibility in the market for landlords, but more importantly for tenants.

'The Government must make changes based on tenant behaviour, not just the demographic change amongst renters. Reform to the justice system is vital, and digitalisation, privatising bailiffs and investing to ensure a properly functioning court system, must be advanced in order that confidence amongst landlords and within the sector is maintained.'

David Cox, ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive

ARLA Propertymark has already engaged with the Government in its consultation on Overcoming the barriers to longer tenancies in the private rented sector and a call for evidence to better understand and improve the experience of people using courts and tribunal services in property cases, including considering the case for a specialist Housing Court.

This is big news for the sector and ARLA Propertymark will be engaging with members before providing a full and detailed response.

More info...