The Renters’ (Reform) Bill 2023: Abolition of ‘no fault’ evictions will result in more litigation

  • Étude de marché 18 mai 2023 18 mai 2023
  • UK Real Estate Insights

The long awaited Renters’ (Reform) Bill 2023 (‘the Bill’) was introduced to Parliament on 17 May 2023. Is there a hidden cost to the abolition of ‘no fault evictions’?

The Department for Levelling Up believe the reforms will benefit around 11 million tenants and protect around two million landlords. On 17 May, Housing Secretary Michael Gove said: “Our new laws introduced to Parliament today will support the vast majority of responsible landlords who provide quality homes to their tenants, while delivering our manifesto commitment to abolish Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions”. 

Additional strain on courts

The abolition of ‘no fault’ grounds means a landlord must necessarily rely on ‘fault’ grounds to evict a troublesome tenant. Under the Bill, the amended section 8 ‘fault’ grounds will allow a landlord to evict an anti-social tenant, but it raises questions about what will constitute ‘anti-social’ behaviour and how far a landlord must go to evidence it.

For example, if a landlord receives complaints about their tenant’s behaviour, what are its options? It will have to accuse the tenant of wrongdoing, but will landlords be required to involve the police? It seems likely that more matters will be forced into the courts which will be costly and time consuming, all the while, the tenant continues to occupy the property. 

In addition, tenants who are ultimately evicted by court order under the new section 8 grounds may then struggle to find new homes. They will have a court record of prior anti-social behaviour which may cause them issues in the future. 

We will continue to watch the progress of the Bill through parliament and provide regular updates. 

The Bill 

We previously summarised the changes the Bill seeks to bring into force (please see here) – the key changes to note are: 

  1. ‘No fault’ evictions under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (‘the Act’) will be abolished, leaving landlords only being able to evict on fault-based grounds and reasonable circumstances. 
  2. There will be new grounds for eviction under section 8 of the Act, making it easier for landlords to recover properties when they need to. The grounds include where a landlord wishes to sell their property and anti-social behaviour.
  3. Rent increases will be through one mechanism replacing the existing section 13 process under the Act. Landlords will only be permitted to increase rents once per year, subject to giving a minimum notice of two months. 
  4. Fixed-term tenancies will end and there will be a move to periodic tenancies. Tenants will be able to end their tenancy by giving two months’ notice or a landlord can provide evidence for a valid ground of possession. 
  5. All landlords will be legally required to join a new Ombudsman scheme. If a landlord breaches the requirements, they can be fined up to £5,000 by their local council. If breaches are committed repeatedly, a landlord can be fined up to £30,000 and could face criminal prosecution and a Banning Order. 

The Bill, however, does not include measures to deal with unaffordable rents, such as rent freezes.
If you are a landlord or a tenant affected by these changes and require advice, get in touch with our experienced Real Estate team.

For further Insights from our real estate team see our UK Real Estate Hub.


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