Renters’ Reform Bill: What is a no fault eviction?

Will we see an end to evictions by 'no fault', or merely endurance of the factory settings?

Black and white apartment block against blue sky signifiying the Renters Reform Bill and no fault eviction.

While you may have read that a majority of MPs in Parliament have voted in favour of the government’s Renters’ Reform Bill, the bill does not give a timeframe for when Section 21 Notices and their associated accelerated possession proceedings, commonly referred to as a ‘no fault eviction’ will be abolished.

A ‘no fault eviction’ is the process by which landlords can seek to evict a tenant without the need to prove that the tenancy agreement has been breached. The current system is that a landlord would serve a tenant with a Section 21 Notice and give the tenant the required notice period by which they should leave the property. However, over the years there have been many technical defences raised that have complicated the procedure and led to lengthy court proceedings. Cutting down on such complications, as well as giving greater security to tenants was seen as the driving force behind the Renters Reform Bill and the abolition of Section 21 Notices.

The removal of Section 21 Notices (and an end no fault eviction) was the headline reform of bill and the failure to include a date by which this will occur has met criticism from charities and other political parties in Parliament. The government has defended this amendment on the basis that it wants to complete a probe to ensure that the change will not overwhelm the courts.

There is currently no timeline for the conclusion of this probe, and therefore neither landlords nor tenants have clarity as to what the renting landscape will look like in the months and years ahead. However, while there has been criticism of the amended bill, there are still steps that landlords and tenants can take at the outset of a new tenancy or when renewing a tenancy agreement.

A tenancy agreement is an extremely important document that sets out the contractual obligations between a landlord and a tenant. While there may be a temptation by both parties to use an “off the rack” tenancy agreement, a more “tailored” agreement can prevent issues arising further down the line. Recording what matters most to each party can be an invaluable exercise, dealing which terms such as the level of flexibility with regards to ending the agreement, how and when the rent will increase and whether pets are allowed at the property.

It can be the case that something that is very important to a tenant is something that a landlord would be happy to agree to and vice versa, as long as there is clarity from the beginning of the tenancy. Problems arise where there are terms that one side or the other consider apply which are not properly contractually recorded. We can advise landlords as to whether requested amendments to a draft agreement may cause any potential risks to them, and we can also advise tenants as to what certainty they require from a tenancy agreement.

Our dedicated landlord and tenant team can help with negotiating tenancy agreements as well as other aspects of tenancy disputes. Contact us on 020 8944 5290 for more information, or email [email protected].

This article was written by Daniel Bolster

Please note the contents contained in this article are for general guidance only and reflection the position at time of posting. Legal advice should be sought before taking action in relation to specific matters.

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