The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018

The Government have now launched their consultation on the proposed repeal of section 21 evictions and to end the assured shorthold tenancy regime.

The consultation paper states:

“We intend to deliver the intention to remove section 21 by removing the assured shorthold tenancy regime. Section 21 notices can only be served under assured shorthold tenancies – the most common form of tenancy in the residential rental sector. Once we abolish section 21, there is no longer any significant legal distinction between an assured shorthold tenancy and an assured tenancy.”

The Government acknowledge that to repeal section 21 requires new grounds to be established under the Section 8 procedure and a reformed possession procedure in the courts.

With section 21 repealed, all future tenancies will be assured, either as fixed-term assured tenancies or contractual periodic assured tenancies. This means that in future, the default position will be that a tenancy is a periodic assured tenancy unless the landlord and tenant have agreed a fixed term in writing. A tenant under an assured tenancy may not be evicted unless a ground under Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 apply or at a breakpoint in the tenancy contract where a break clause has been agreed between the landlord and the tenant the Governments consultation paper has confirmed.

Under the new framework, there will be a number of potential ways in which a tenancy could be brought to an end:

  • In a fixed-term tenancy – tenants will be able to end the tenancy after the end of the fixed-term (or at a breakpoint), as long as they provide sufficient notice to the landlord in line with their tenancy agreement.
  • In an assured periodic (open-ended) tenancy – tenants will be able to end a tenancy at any point provided they comply with the appropriate notice period.
  • In either scenario – landlords will be able to end the tenancy by issuing a notice under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988, provided one of the grounds in Schedule 2 applies.

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