Under the proposals, which are not yet law, assured shorthold tenancies would effectively become open ended. The proposals also seem to reflect the failure of changes to the Section 21 regime in recent years to provide increased security of tenure. For example, the changes to Section 21 to prevent ‘revenge eviction’ have been completely ineffective.
These changes, if implemented, could have a more drastic effect. Predictably, landlord organisations have reacted angrily. Tenant organisations have hailed the proposals as a huge victory. Theresa May, announcing the plans, said that they were intended to bring long term security.
Ministers intend that the Section 8 procedure – eviction on the basis of rent arrears and tenant default – will remain. The intention appears to be that Section 8 will be amended to allow a landlord to sell the property or move back into it themselves. No doubt there will also be an exemption for mortgage repossession cases.
An obvious issue is that landlords may seek to hike up rents to circumvent these changes. Are we to see rent regulation or rent control as the next step?
At the time of writing these are only government proposals and the law is unchanged.