A serious shake-up of assured shorthold tenancy (AST) contracts is on the cards when the Renters Reform Bill is published this autumn, the government has confirmed.
In answer to a Parliamentary question about how the PRS benefits the economy, Housing Minister Lord Greenhalgh (main pic) said the government was committed to delivering a package of reforms.
“A key part of our future PRS reforms is to ensure the flexibility of private rental tenancies is retained, whilst balancing increased security for those tenants who need and want it, alongside driving an improvement in the quality and standards of PRS accommodation,” he said.
In the consultation document – A New Deal for Renting – the government said landlords who evict tenants for rent arrears or anti-social behaviour using ‘no fault’ grounds masked valid reasons for eviction, which fuelled a culture of mistrust and uncertainty.
No practical purpose
“The ability to use section 21 rests in the assured shorthold tenancies regime. The government is of the view that, with section 21 removed, the assured shorthold regime no longer serves a practical purpose as the ability to create fixed-term tenancies already exists in the Housing Act 1988.”
With section 21 removed, all future tenancies would be assured, either as fixed-term assured tenancies or contractual periodic assured tenancies.
It would mean the default position will be that a tenancy is a periodic assured tenancy unless the landlord and tenant have agreed a fixed term in writing.
A tenant under an assured tenancy won’t be evicted unless the landlord can provide grounds under Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 or at a break point in the tenancy contract where a break clause has been agreed between them.