In line with the new government proposal, private landlords in England will no longer be able to evict tenants without a good reason after their short-term rent agreements expire. First Minister Mark Drakeford also announced similar plans for Wales, while in Scotland, legislation introduced in 2017, requires homeowners to have legal reason for the termination of the lease. There are no plans to change the current system in Northern Ireland, where the tenants can be evicted without a reason if the rent agreement has expired. The government claims that by introducing changes to the system it wants to protect tenants from “unethical” landlords and provide them with more secure living prospects and confidence in their future.
James Brockenshire, Housing Secretary, said that the current situation has negative impact on the level of homelessness among English families. The British Prime Minister Theresa May stated that the government’s proposal was intended to prevent "unfair evictions."
In accordance with the new plans, landlords will have to provide a specific reason, set by law, in order to evict tenants after the expiration of the rent agreement. Homeowners who wish to evict tenants will have to use Section 8 notice, which applies to cases such as rent delay, evidence of tenant’s criminal or anti-social behaviour, or any violations of the terms of the rent agreement. Unlike Section 21, tenants may legally challenge the eviction of Section 8, so the process itself can end up being delayed for months.
At present, most of the rent agreements are signed for a period of six months, after which the landlord can evict their tenants without giving a reason. The eviction takes place in accordance with Section 21. After receiving the notice, the tenant has 8 weeks to leave the property.
Residential Landlords Association warned that such changes could lead to negative consequences, such as landlords investing less in housing, which could lead to a drop in the level of offers in the real estate market.