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How Will Landlords Evict Tenants Once Section 21 is Abolished?

Estimated reading time 7 minutes

The UK government's decision to abolish Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 has sparked significant debate and concern among landlords and tenants alike. Section 21, often referred to as a "no-fault" eviction, allows landlords to evict tenants without providing a reason after a fixed-term tenancy agreement has ended or during a periodic tenancy with appropriate notice.

The abolition of Section 21, estimated to occur autumn 2025 or spring 2026, is aimed at improving security for tenants and providing them with more stability in their homes. However, it raises questions about how landlords will be able to regain possession of their properties if they have legitimate reasons for doing so. In this blog post, we will explore the alternative eviction processes available to landlords once Section 21 is abolished and discuss their implications.

What is the alternative to the Section 21 no fault eviction notice?

With the abolition of Section 21, landlords will primarily rely on Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 to evict tenants. This is already used. Unlike Section 21, Section 8 requires landlords to provide specific grounds for eviction, and the process can be more complex and time-consuming.

What is a Section 8 eviction notice?

A Section 8 eviction notice is a legal document served by a landlord to a tenant to initiate the eviction process based on specific grounds outlined in Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988.

Some of the grounds under Section 8 include:

  • Rent arrears
  • Breach of tenancy agreement
  • Property damage
  • Nuisance or anti-social behaviour
  • Landlord wanting to live in the property

How is the Section 8 eviction notice different to Section 21 no fault eviction notice?

As we have touched on briefly, there is a distinct difference between Section 8 and Section 21 eviction notices.

Section 21 allows landlords to evict tenants without providing a specific reason. This means that landlords can regain possession of their property simply because they want to, provided they give the tenant a minimum of 2 months' notice using the prescribed form.

On the other hand, Section 8 requires landlords to provide valid reasons, or grounds, for seeking possession of their property. When serving a Section 8 notice, landlords must specify the grounds for eviction and provide a minimum notice period, which can vary depending on the reasons cited.

The eviction process under Section 21 is generally simpler and quicker compared to Section 8, as landlords do not need to prove any wrongdoing on the part of the tenant. Once the notice period expires, landlords can apply to the court for a possession order, and if granted, request bailiffs to carry out the eviction.

In contrast, the Section 8 eviction process can be more complex and time-consuming, as landlords must provide evidence to support their grounds for eviction and may need to attend a court hearing. The court will consider both the landlord's and tenant's circumstances before making a decision on whether to grant a possession order.

The long-term implications of Section 21 abolition for landlords

Overall, while Section 21 offers landlords a more straightforward route to eviction without requiring specific grounds, the abolition of Section 21 will increase reliance on Section 8, which necessitates valid reasons for eviction and a more involved legal process. Other implications could be:

Longer eviction process

The eviction process under Section 8 is generally longer and more complicated than under Section 21. Landlords may face delays and additional costs associated with court proceedings.

Greater scrutiny

Landlords will need to provide compelling evidence to support their grounds for eviction, and their actions may come under greater scrutiny by the court.

Alternative dispute resolution

To avoid the court process, landlords and tenants may opt for alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, to resolve issues amicably.

What do landlords need to consider before Section 21 is abolished?

It is certain that Section 21 will scrapped, meaning current landlords may need to make decisions.

Should landlords sell before Section 21 is scrapped?

Once Section 21 has been abolished it is likely that selling property portfolios and buy-to-let properties will be more difficult for landlords. As a result, the approaching end of Section 21 is expected to prompt landlords who have been on the fence about selling to make a decision. This could lead to a scenario contrary to what is observed when temporary reductions in stamp duty end, which typically spur a surge in property purchases.

Selling with vacant possession often allows landlords to command higher prices for their properties. Additionally, the process of selling becomes more streamlined without the presence of tenants, making tasks such as scheduling viewings and preparing the property for sale less cumbersome.

For those landlords who choose to remain in the rental market, they will need to adapt to the evolving landscape of property management. The changing regulations and market conditions will require landlords to navigate a new way of landlording, potentially reshaping the dynamics of the rental market.

Should landlords tackle problem tenants before Section 21 is scrapped?

There may be an increase in evictions in the run up to the rumoured autumn 2025/spring 2026 abolition. This will be due to landlords wanting to start proceedings via Section 21 to evict tenants via the ‘easier’ method before Section 8 becomes the only way. Many landlords may see this interim period as a ‘get out of jail free’ card, evicting even reliable tenants with only small misdemeanours against their name, simply because it will be more difficult in the future. However, landlords who choose this option may find the grass is not greener and end up replacing relatively easy tenants with problematic ones, despite screening. They will then have to start the lengthy Section 8 process to evict the new tenants.

How will the abolition of Section 21 evictions impact tenants?

Generally speaking, while the abolition of Section 21 will indeed provide renters with increased security, it is expected to alter landlords' approach to tenant selection. Landlords may become more cautious and risk-averse when choosing tenants, knowing that relying on Section 8 for eviction can be both costly and time-intensive for addressing issues with problematic renters in the future.

Tenants should be aware that, in the short-term, there could be a rise in Section 21 evictions. Whilst problem tenants should be most perturbed by this trend, even reliable and trustworthy tenants could fall foul of the changing landscape of landlording.

The Renters’ Reform Bill

The Government first pledged to ban Section 21 evictions in April 2019. Fast forward to 2024 and this still hasn’t made it through. However, with musings of dates in the future it looks like this will be the final furlong.

The scrapping of Section 21 no fault evictions is part of a wider Renters Reform Bill. Other objectives include:

  • Landlords and agents cannot refuse properties to people who receive benefits or have children
  • Create a national landlord register through the new property portal which will provide tenants with helpful information
  • Introduce new eviction protocol for landlords who genuinely want to sell or live in their property themselves

The Renters’ Reform Bill will undoubtedly change the relationship between landlords and tenants going forward. If you’re a landlord who has been toying with the idea of selling, Bettermove is in a position to help.

We have helped landlords sell their property portfolios and individual buy-to-let properties for cash. Whether a property is vacant or tenanted, we can be completely flexible to your requirements, and abide by any standing contracts. For any tenants in situ, they can benefit from a smooth transition with minimal disruptions.

As a trusted cash house buyer, we can purchase the property from you ourselves, tailoring the process to meet your requirements. Alternatively, if you grant us 30 days, we will find you a buyer from our network of pre-approved cash buyers and investors. Whichever route to sale you choose, the team will be extremely flexible to both you and your tenants. You can find out how our process works in more detail.