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As part of the Government’s refreshed plans to tackle antisocial behaviour are new eviction powers for landlords with nuisance tenants. With many still awaiting a replacement following the controversial abolishment of Section 21, does this legislation change measure up?

This month, Rishi Sunak announced his proposals for tackling increased public concerns surrounding antisocial behaviour. His plans include:

  • On-the-spot drug testing increases as well as expanding drug testing on arrest
  • On-the-spot fines for littering and graffiti to more than triple
  • Members of the public to have a greater say on punishments for antisocial behaviour offenders

The stand-out proposal, however, was to give landlords more power and support in evicting troublesome tenants. Sunak’s proposal allows landlords to evict tenants disrupting neighbours, damage to the property, and, perhaps most notably, those falling behind on rent. The Government’s plan enables landlords to evict tenants within two weeks. 


What are the key changes to landlord eviction powers?

Under the new proposal, all new private tenancy agreements must include clauses specifically banning antisocial behaviour, and notice periods will be halved from four to two weeks.

Landlords have grounds to evict “persistently problematic tenants”, causing the following disturbances:

  • Noise disturbance
  • Drunken behaviour
  • Drug use
  • Damage to the property
  • Rental arrears

The plan cites new research which finds more than one in four social housing tenants report having been impacted by antisocial behaviour in the past year. This equates to nearly a million households. The report goes on to highlight that, of those who reported the behaviour to their landlord, just 55% were satisfied with the outcome.

As such, the plan intends to better support both tenants and landlords throughout this process. As it stands, landlords must be able to prove that antisocial behaviour has taken place and caused annoyance when reporting the issue. However, this change enables landlords to evict tenants based on any behaviour “capable” of causing nuisance or disturbance.

The plans also promise to prioritise these court cases to ensure evictions are dealt with more swiftly. Judges will be required under new legislation to consider the impacts on landlords, housemates, and neighbours when reviewing cases.


Does this replace Section 21?

To summarise, this new legislation will make it easier for landlords to evict troublesome tenants and, hopefully, reduce the time it takes to regain control over their property. However, whilst this proposal from Sunak does offer some positives for landlords, the PRS still awaits a proper replacement for Section 21.

Both the Conservative and Labour Party’s respective Rental Reform Bills promise to abolish Section 21, much to the dismay of property investors. This legislative change could force many landlords to sell up, and only heighten the issues tenants currently face, such as the low supply of rental stock on the market.

However, the new eviction rights for landlords will increase the range of disruptive and harmful activities that can lead to eviction notices, including non-paying tenants. Consequently, we hope landlords can easily instruct these eviction notices when facing the financial strain caused by rental arrears. If this is the case, then this is a real win for landlords and the PRS as a whole.

Unfortunately, we still await a viable alternative for landlords looking to avoid the costs and time required to attend court to evict a tenant, as was possible under Section 21. It’s no secret that there are currently significant delays in the court system, meaning that the prospect of two-week evictions is highly unlikely. The Government are yet to propose a new process for landlords under these circumstances, causing ongoing worries for property investors.


Changes to Airbnb lettings

It’s also worth noting that the Government proposed changes to those letting out properties on Airbnb. Any holiday letters renting out their homes via the site must register on a new database to allow local councils to deal with antisocial behaviour complaints more easily.

In response, Airbnb commented that the site had recommended introducing a national registration scheme back in 2021 for hosts to use.

The holiday let site added, “Parties are banned on Airbnb and our industry-leading prevention technology blocked more than 84,000 people in the UK from making certain unwanted bookings last year alone. Our 24/7 hotline for neighbours means anyone can contact us directly about a concern with a listing and we investigate and take action on reports received.”

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