The government has announced that it plans to change the eviction process used by private landlords in England to evict tenants at short notice.
Housing Secretary, James Brokenshire, said that the changes would offer more stability to families who rent. Renters should be able to make a complaint about their rent property without fear of being evicted through the current Section 21 eviction process.
Current Section 21 legislation
Landlords in England and Wales can apply to the courts under Section 21 to evict their tenant without stating a reason, providing the fixed term of the tenancy has expired. Landlords can simply give two months’ notice to their tenant that they require possession. If the tenant does not leave within this timeframe, the landlord may apply for a possession order. The court must grant this order if the landlord provides evidence that they have complied with all statutory requirements.
The new process
The changes proposed by the government mean that the Section 21 redress will no longer be available to landlords. Instead, landlords who want to regain possession of a property will need to use the Section 8 process. This allows landlords to seek possession by citing certain grounds. Two month’s rent arrears, damage to the property and antisocial behaviour are examples of grounds in support of an application. Evidence can be recorded and collated using property inventory software.
However, according to the National Landlords Association (NLA), landlords have no confidence in the current section 8 process.
Landlords fear that the proposed changes will create a new system of indefinite tenancies by the back door, by making it more difficult and costly for them to evict tenants who do not pay rent.
How can landlords safeguard their interests?
Landlords can use new property inventory software to record detailed inventories for their rental properties and record damage, for example.
But what is property inventory software? This is software that provides useful property management tools, by, for example, enabling streamlined interim inspections and customisable inventory reports. These reports can then be use as evidence in any future court proceedings.
The proposed changes to legislation signify the importance of detailed and careful property management practices. Private landlords and their agents must evaluate their exposure to risk in the ever-changing and complex landlord and tenant relationship.
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