'End no-fault evictions' - leading lawyers call for reform to eviction law

Housing law experts have backed government moves to abolish so-called ‘no-fault’ evictions - which enable landlords to evict tenants without a legal requirement to provide an appropriate justification.

Under current law, landlords must only prove that the correct procedure has been followed and the appropriate notice period given.

The proposals aim to improve security of tenure by ending assured shorthold tenancies (AST) and revoking section 21* of the Housing Act 1988.

This is the response to the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government’s consultation: A New Deal for Renting from the housing law committee of the Law Society of England and Wales.

Simon Davis, president of the Law Society, said: “Section 21 is one of the leading causes of family homelessness in the UK. In addition, because of the absence of legal aid support, many are unable to obtain the legal advice they need to enforce their rights.

“This creates an inequity of power between landlords and tenants. The rule of law should be available equally to both sides.

“There are fears that current legislation has led to so-called ‘retaliatory evictions.’ For example, if a tenant has raised concerns that a landlord has failed to comply with their own legal obligations.”

Highlighting the need for balance between the rights of tenants and landlords, the Society has also recommended the widening of section 8 – the powers of a landlord to regain their property in some circumstances.

Simon Davis warned: “There is a delicate balance to be struck between improving security of tenure and ensuring that landlords are not disincentivised from entering into longer-term fixed term tenancies.”

Notes to editors

*Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 allows landlords to end Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST) without having to give a reason, provided the correct procedure is followed and proper notice is given.

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