Housing Supply and Rents

‘No-fault evictions’ – the facts

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Tonight’s Panorama programme will put Section 21s –  so-called no-fault evictions – under the spotlight.

The use of Section 21 to evict tenants is an emotive one, but, ahead of tonight’s programme, the RLA would stress it is in no-one’s interest for landlords to evict good tenants who pay their rent.

There are, in fact, a myriad of reasons a landlord may use a Section 21 notice.

Landlords frequently use Section 21s as an alternative to the lengthy and complicated Section 8 process to evict problem tenants.

Others are forced to regain possession of their property using Section 21 to sell it, as renting out a home is no longer affordable for them.

The RLA says the debate must reflect the facts.

The 2015/16 English Housing Survey notes that, when asked about their most recent move, 73% of private renters said that their last tenancy ended because they wanted it to, with only 11% saying their landlord or agent ended the tenancy.

And the average length of a tenancy is now four years.

RLA policy director David Smith said: “Faced with emotional stories of the kind likely to appear on this evening’s programme, it is important that debate on security in rented housing is grounded in firm evidence.

“Most tenancies are ended by the tenant, rather than the landlord.

“Tenants are increasingly living longer in their private rented homes, with the average length of occupancy now being almost four years.

“It is also illegal for landlords to evict a tenant simply because they have raised a complaint about standards in a property.

“The vast majority of landlords have no interest in getting rid of any tenant who respects the property and pays their rent.

“If there is a problem with a tenant, using the process known as section 8 which requires landlords to outline the reasons for seeking to regain possession of their property, can take over 40 weeks.

“This is not sustainable for anyone.

“The RLA has urged the Government to urgently come forward with its plans for a new housing court which would provide much easier access and faster justice to both tenants and landlords when all other channels have been exhausted.”

Evicted for No Reason: Panorama, is on BBC 1 at 8.30pm tonight.

Have you used Section 21 to regain possession? Let us know your thoughts by tweeting @RLA_News or share your experiences on our Facebook Page.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.


    • Good morning Michael,

      They were introduced as part of the 1988 Housing Act under the Thatcher government.

      Under Section 21 landlords of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy were given the right to regain possession of their buy-to-let home after an agreed term – then six months – provided they served a property drafted Section 21 notice.

      By way of background, pre-1988 you had to be very careful who you let your homes out to, as once tenants were in it could be very, very difficult to recover the property.

      Without the powers afforded them by the introduction of Section 21 landlords were very risk averse, unwilling to rent to take on any but the most exemplary tenants, for fear they would not be able to regain possession.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.