The Upcoming Repeal of Section 21 and Changes to Section 8

123 Estate Agent Bromley information about section 21 and 8 notices.

In 2019, the Government announced, “the biggest change to the private rental sector for a generation” with its plans to repeal Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, putting an end to so-called “no-fault evictions” as part of its ongoing project to improve the security of tenure for tenants. It certainly represents a significant change. The repeal of Section 21 would also put an end to assured short hold tenancies, which are the most common form of tenancy in the English residential rental sector. Section 21 notices can only be served under assured short hold tenancies, and the government notes that, once Section 21 is abolished, there won’t be any significant legal distinction between an assured short-hold tenancy and an assured tenancy. Serving a Section 21 notice is the preferred method of letting agents and landlords for the swift repossession of a property, whether or not the tenant is at fault. A survey by found that 87% of letting agents had served a Section 21 notice in the past 12 months, whereas only 51% of letting agents had served a Section 8 notice in the same period.

Section 8 is generally considered by letting agents and landlords to be a more complicated process for gaining possession of a property for a variety of factors, from the difficulty in gaining possession through the courts, which almost half of the landlords had experienced, to the mandatory grounds not meeting their needs. The Government has proposed accelerating the court process for repossession under Section 8 and expanding and amending the mandatory grounds for repossession, which means the court must grant possession of the property if the grounds can be proved. “Strengthening Section 8 is essential, and it must move to a system of mandatory grounds with anti-social behaviour and rent arrears being top of the priority list,” says ARLA CEO David Cox. “Reform to the justice system is vital, and digitalisation, privatising bailiffs and investing to ensure a properly functioning court system, must be advanced in order that confidence amongst landlords and within the sector is maintained.


There will be a number of potential ways in which a tenancy could be brought to an end under the Government’s proposed framework:

• 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 letting agent or 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, letting agents or landlords will be able to end the tenancy by issuing a notice under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988, providing one of the grounds applies.

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