New headaches for landlords
Private landlords could find it harder to evict tenants in future, thanks to new government legislation.
Landlords will no longer be able to serve tenants with a 'section 21 notice', which effectively enables them to cancel the tenancy at the end of the term, without giving any formal reason. This is currently allowed in England and Wales, although the practice has already been outlawed in Scotland.
New rules will stipulate that landlords must provide a ‘lawful’ reason for terminating the agreement. For example, tenants might have fallen into arrears with rent, or the landlord might want to sell the property.
There have been concerns that some unscrupulous landlords have served section 21 notices to tenants who simply complain about sub-standard housing.
However, some buy-to-let investors fear that the new law will make it harder for them to evict problem tenants. A ‘section 8’ notice can still be used for eviction, but it can be challenged in court. The government has tried to address these fears by pledging to improve court processes, to make it simpler to take swifter legal action against those who have broken the terms of their tenancy.
This is the latest in series of legislative changes to hit buy-to-let investors and private landlords. Profits have been increasingly squeezed as income tax relief has been curtailed and a 3% stamp duty surcharge (4% in Scotland) has been introduced on purchases of additional property.
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