Our property accountants will be watching with interest to see what changes might be made to Section 21 notices, which have historically been a useful tool for landlords with a need to recover their property from tenants.
A Section 21 notice can be served for all sorts of reasons, from deliberate mistreatment of the property to falling behind on rent repayments – and, according to Citizens Advice, for requesting that costly repairs are completed.
The organisation gives the example of a tenant who demanded extensive repair work, following a damp and mould problem in her rental property, in which the local environmental health officer eventually had to step in to instruct the landlord to carry out the repairs.
Instead, the tenant was served with a Section 21 notice, forcing her to move out of the property – which, under the 1988 Housing Act, is perfectly legal.
Sarah Teather MP is now asking for a Bill to be passed to prevent ‘retaliatory eviction’ of this kind, and the government as a whole have expressed support for this proposal.
However, private landlords may be concerned about any restrictions to their powers – particularly if it means you can no longer force tenants to move out of a property you own, rather than cover the cost of expensive repair work.
The issue is likely to run for some time before any decisions are made, but our property accountants will be watching for any updates, and are ready to take enquiries from concerned landlords in the meantime.