The government have announced that they will be taking away the right for landlords to evict under section 21. But if they do that – tenants will no longer have the protection of
The Section 21 pre-requisites
One of the things which the government has been doing over the past few years is attaching more and more conditions to the right to use section 21.
They are in effect saying “All right, you can evict your tenant without having to give a reason – but only if you comply with these conditions or (as they are normally described as) pre-requisites”.
At present the section 21 pre-requisites include:
- Two months notice in the proper form
- An HMO license if the property is a licensable HMO
- Proper protection of any deposit paid and service of ‘prescribed information’
And, in England only:
- Service of a valid Gas Safety Certificate before the tenants move in, and
- Service of an Energy Performance Certificate (both for tenancies which started or were renewed on or after 15/10/2015 only), and
- Service of the Government’s ‘How to Rent’ booklet
- The use of a prescribed form
- Time limits – no notice to be served during the first 4 months of the tenancy and the notice to have a life of (in most cases) 6 months, plus
- No valid section 21 notice can be served if an improvement notice has been served on the landlord by the Local Authority within the past six months
Why the section 21 pre-requisites are important
Landlords are terrified of losing the right to use section 21 – as they fear being stuck with a tenant who is not paying rent, or who is damaging the property or who is behaving in an anti-social manner.
This means that (when they are aware of them) Landlords make it a priority to comply with all the section 21 rules. As if they don’t – tenants are protected.
But if the right to use section 21 is removed altogether – what incentive will they have to, for example, get a gas safety certificate? Bearing in mind that enforcement is in many areas almost non-existent?
The criminal landlords
Following on from this – the only people who are not bothered by the pre-requisites are the growing number of rogue or criminal landlords. Because they never take any notice of the law anyway.
So equally they won’t be troubled by the removal of section 21. They have other methods of making tenants leave.
One of the biggest problems we have in the private rented sector is the almost total failure of the authorities (with a few honourable exceptions) to enforce the law.
I will be looking at this in another post.