Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, allows landlords to terminate assured shorthold tenancies by giving two months' notice of the 'intention to seek possession'.
Section 21 is often referred to as the 'no fault' route to possession and so long as the s21 Notice is valid the Court must grant possession. It is of course unlawful to evict a tenant without a possession order.
Section 21 has sometimes been used by landlords as a form of retaliation - tenant complains for example about the state of the property and the landlord responds with notice.
The Deregulation Act 2015 introduced a number of provisions to protect tenants against unfair evictions. Initially these provisions only applied to tenancies commencing after 1 October 2015, but as of 1 October 2018 these provisions apply to all assured shorthold tenancies.
A section 21 notice served in response to a genuine complaint about the condition of the property may be found by the Court to be invalid.
Landlords are also required to provide to the tenant at the commencement of the tenancy the following:
1. The How to Rent guidance;
2. Gas Safety and Energy Performance Certificates;
3. Prescribed information in respect of any deposit taken.
A failure by the landlord to provide the above information at the outset of the tenancy is likely to invalidate any s21 notice, which also must now be in the new prescribed form 6A and cannot be served in the first 4 months of the tenancy.
Landlords are therefore prevented from retaliatory evictions and must avoid a number of 'traps' to ensure that they can recover possession using the s21 procedure.
It seems therefore that it is not necessary to 'scrap' the s21 procedure. However, even if that were to happen, landlords will still be able to recover possession in the case of rent arrears or breach of tenancy by seeking possession relying on the grounds for possession, although it may be necessary to prove to the court that possession is reasonable in all the circumstances.
First council backs campaign to scrap S21 eviction powers