Delayed indefinitely: The abolition of no-fault evictions
Erin Bradbury – 6 November 2023
Rising costs to unaffordable levels, short supply to demand, and a whopping 41% rise in no fault evictions between April and June in England from last year has left the UK rental market in dire straits. In 2019, the Conservative manifesto promised to address the problem, particularly around Section 21 or ‘no fault’ evictions – where a landlord doesn’t need to provide a reason for evicting a tenant at the end of a fixed term, or at any time during a tenancy with no fixed end date.
Understandably, navigating the issue of private rentals is a minefield, and finding a so-called fix will never please everyone. But in May 2023, the proposed Renters (Reform) Bill introduced to Parliament and was seen as a positive step. First and foremost were plans to address no-fault evictions, after annual government figures revealed that they were to blame for a 23% increase in people at risk of homelessness.
In October, the government faced calls for delays to the reforms to be brought to an end. The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham, alongside 60 cross-party parliamentarians, argued that as the legislation was a manifesto commitment, the government has a relatively short window to make good on its promised reforms.
Yet there are plenty of stumbling blocks. Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove announced that reforms such as the abolition of no-fault evictions will be delayed until the court system is “fit for purpose”, with no timeline indicated as to when the promise will be addressed. As thing stand, it takes on average just over 6 months for courts to process possession claims by landlords in instances such as rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.
So, until such improvements have been made, Section 21 is here to stay. Tenants will continue to have 2 months to move upon receipt of one until a landlord can apply for a court order to evict. Other parts of the Renters Reform Bill may come into law next year.