The news that the Government is thinking of planning on heavily amending Landlord’s rights to serve Section Notices on tenants requiring possession, comes as something of a surprise, even after the raft of new rules and regulations imposed on private Landlords and the tax changes including huge surcharges on SDLT which have made “buy to let” a much more questionable occupation for the small to medium sized private Landlord.
Of course there are two sides to this story. There are some bad Landlords who have played a role in removing tenants unnecessarily and the provision of 2 months’ notice seems short by todays standards.
Announcements gloss over the fact that the Notice is one which merely indicates an intention to take proceedings and is not a “Notice to Quit” in itself.
It is easy to forget the real reason why the rules were changed in the 1980’s to open up private sector tenancies by enabling Landlords to have some security in their right to have the property returned to them upon reasonable notice being given to the tenant. This massively expanded the private rental sector in order to provide housing when it was needed the most.
It is extremely inconvenient on tenants to be given a Section 21 Notice requiring the return of premises to a private Landlord but that has been the “rule of the game” since the legislation was passed.
Whilst acknowledging that the private rental sector has now increased massively, with ‘Generation Rent’ one would have thought the easiest way of providing additional fairness to the market would be to extend the notice period by a couple of months to enable tenants to make better new arrangements. Throwing the baby out with the bath water does not seem, to this writer, a sensible response to the housing shortage and will simply funnel the private rented sector back into the hands of very large Landlords and reduce the rented housing stock.
Private Landlords must now be considering whether to serve a Section 21 Notice now and reserve their position until the legislation proposal becomes clearer.