It is important for you to be aware that Citizens Advice Bureau, with the support of local authorities and other organisations, have been lobbying to government with proposals to enforce restrictions concerning private landlords and the use of Section 21 notices (s21).
S21 are used as a fast-track process of evicting tenants, regardless of if there is an issue with the tenancy or not.
However there has been evidence to suggest that landlords are using S21 in a retaliatory manner (retaliatory eviction), whereby a landlord seeks to evict tenants because they complain about property repairs.
If restrictions on s21 are in place and landlords are challenged if retaliatory eviction is suspected, it is hoped that this practice will be eliminated. Tenants right groups have proposed two ways to deal with the incidence of retaliatory eviction:
- it should be possible for tenants to take the eviction notice to a property tribunal, so that a judgement could be made about whether the eviction notice has been served in response to the tenant trying to exercise their statutory rights.
- it should be the case that s21 notices could only be available to landlords who pass some sort of management quality test, perhaps by being a member of an accreditation scheme.
However, a recent report called The Private Rented Sector: its contribution and potential (Julie Rugg and David Rhodes) suggests that the changes to s21 may not deal with the main problem - very poor landlord management practice. The report suggests a more effective approach might be to create a framework where it is more likely that this kind of landlord can be removed from the sector (e.g. unable to let properties) altogether.
A decision has yet to be made regarding retaliatory eviction. Therefore, as landlords, you have a chance to retain your right to use a s21 and not be punished. However, by achieving our accreditation standards and following our tenancy management guidelines you will have measures in place to resolve any issues without taking retaliatory action.