The Government has been consulting on proposals to repeal section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act.
The proposals aim to end ‘no-fault evictions’, where landlords can use Section 21 to end assured shorthold tenancies simply by giving notice, without having to demonstrate grounds for possession.
The proposal is driven by issues in the private rented sector, but it would also affect housing associations, who sometimes use assured shorthold tenancies.
Our response sets out both the implications for housing associations and some recommendations to address these, and is based on extensive consultation with our members. The government consultation only seeks views on how to repeal Section 21, not whether it should be repealed, so our response does the same.
Summary of our response
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- Housing associations use assured shorthold tenancies in a number of ways, including probationary tenancies, fixed-term tenancies and in supported and specialised housing.
- We believe it would be unacceptable for housing association tenants to have less statutory protection than private sector tenants. We therefore agree that the repeal of Section 21 should extend to all users of the Housing Act 1988, including housing associations.
- There are some forms of supported housing, along with some other types of specialised housing, where no-fault possession is legitimately required. We therefore propose changes to the Housing Act 1988 to cover these special cases.
- We also recommend that the Government consider creating a form of short tenancy, such as that used in Scotland, which could be used instead of probationary tenancies in certain circumstances.
- We support the proposal for specialist housing courts, although it is essential that they be properly resourced.