In May 2023, the Renters (Reform) Bill (the “Bill”) was announced by the Secretary of State for Levelling up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove (the “Secretary of State”).

The Secretary of State’s declared intention for the Bill is to “make provision changing the law about rented homes, including provision abolishing fixed term assured tenancies and assured shorthold tenancies; imposing obligations on landlords and others in relation to rented homes and temporary and supported accommodation; and for connected purposes.”

One of the proposed changes that the Bill is seeking to implement, is the abolition of what is called Section 21 evictions. References to Section 21 evictions are references to evictions under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. As the law stands today, landlords can evict tenants under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (“AST”), either after a fixed term tenancy ends (if there is a written contract), or during a tenancy with no fixed end date (known as a periodic tenancy), without having to establish fault on the part of the tenant. An AST is the most common form of tenancy in England and Wales, and most new tenancies are automatically ASTs.

In order to evict a tenant under Section 21, the Landlord has to serve 2 months’ notice on the tenant, stating that they require possession of the property. The landlord can either serve the notice before or on the day on which the tenancy comes to an end. After the notice has been served to the tenant, the tenant will have two months to vacate the property.

Naturally, tenants do not like Section 21, as it presents uncertainty to their continuing tenure in their home. Landlords naturally enjoy the flexibility that Section 21 affords them, as they can obtain vacant possession of their property within two months of a tenancy ending.

With the Bill, the Government is seeking to address the perceived imbalance of rights that Section 21 inflicts against tenants.

In order to make its way into law, any Bill must pass through various stages in Parliament, starting with its ‘First reading’ in the House of Commons, where the short title of the Bill is read out and is followed by an order for the Bill to be printed, and ending with Royal Assent, where the Bill finally becomes an Act of Parliament (law).

The Bill had its first reading on 17th May 2023, and its second reading on 23rd October 2023. The Bill went through the second reading smoothly, however, the Secretary of State has confirmed that the abolition of section 21 will not take place until stronger possession grounds and reforms to the Court process (to make it more efficient) are implemented. This is likely to cause a delay to the abolition of Section 21, which will be welcome news to many landlords and frustrating for many tenants.

The Secretary of State has also committed to introducing a new ground for possession, to facilitate the protection of the student market. The Secretary of State has stated that they recognise that the student market is cyclical and that landlords must be able to guarantee possession each year for a new set of tenants. This commitment will be welcome news to landlords in the student accommodation sector.

The Bill is now at the Committee stage, where a detailed examination of the Bill will take place. The first sitting of the Committee stage is due to take place on 14th November 2023. Landlords and tenants will be watching the result of the Committee stage closely, to see whether any changes in direction or delays result from it.

Attwells has extensive experience in Section 21 matters, representing both landlords and tenants. We can assist landlords with drafting and serving Section 21 notices and any associated court applications, and tenants with responding to Section 21 notices. Call us today on 01206 239764 or email us at  for further information and a fee quote.

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