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‘No-fault’ termination of residential tenancies to end

For years, private landlords and housing associations have been enabled to let residential property on assured shorthold tenancies (‘AST’).  The property must be the tenants’ main accommodation and the landlord himself cannot live there.  The rent cannot be more that £100,000 per annum or less that £250 (£1,000 in London).  It is now the most common form of residential tenancy in England.

Granted for a fixed term of six months or more, an AST will continue after the fixed term expires and until the landlord serves notice upon the tenant giving at least two months’ notice in writing thereby bringing the tenancy to an end (pursuant to s21 of the Housing Act, 1988).  The landlord need give no reason for ending the tenancy and it is this aspect of the AST that has proven so popular with private landlords.  However,  the ability of landlords to ‘uproot’ their tenants ‘with little notice, and often little justification’ is considered wrong by Prime Minister Theresa May.  The government therefore wishes to abolish ‘no-fault’ evictions in England.  (The National Assembly for Wales proposes to introduce changes to residential lettings by its Renting Homes (Wales) Act, 2016.  In Scotland, the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988 applies and the Housing Act 1988 was never implemented in Northern Ireland.)

The government is to launch its consultation shortly re its proposals to remove the landlords’ ability to use ‘no-fault’  evictions in England.  In its Press Release dated 15 April, 2019, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government assures landlords they will have ‘effective means of getting their property back when they genuinely need to do so’.  Thus, says the Ministry, property owners will be able to regain their property should they wish to sell it or move into it.

Despite these assurances, there must be many a private landlord now seriously considering whether they wish to continue to let their property in the future.

The government says it will ‘collaborate with and listen to tenants, landlords and others in the private rented sector’ and develop a new deal for renting residential property.  We await the outcome of the consultation with interest.

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