The General Election: what this could mean for Landlords and Tenants

The General Election: what this could mean for Landlords and Tenants

In the UK, more than 11 million people rent from a private landlord and therefore it is important that the government regulates the market effectively. In recent years, balancing protection of both landlords and tenants has been a difficult task, and the government announced its intention to make changes to the current legislation back in April of this year. As we approach a general election, party manifestos indicate a general consensus that changes to the current law on the eviction of tenants is necessary.

Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 enables landlords to evict a tenant with at least two months' notice after a fixed-term contract has ended, essentially granting the right to evict a tenant even where the tenant is not at fault. However, both the Labour Party and Conservative Party appear to support the notion that the law for "no-fault" evictions should be abolished, resulting in evictions only being lawful where there is a degree of "fault", or where specified grounds for possession are satisfied.

Labour has announced in their manifesto that they will introduce open-ended tenancies where landlords will only be able to evict on specific grounds, including non-payment of rent, criminal behaviour in the property, or if the landlord wishes to move back into the property. To ensure that there is no knock-on effect of landlords increasing rents, Labour intends to stop by capping them based on inflation.

The Conservative Party have similar plans in their manifesto, identifying that they intend to offer protection to revenge evictions by abolishing "no-fault" evictions also. Again, whilst this would provide some certainty to tenants, it could also create uncertainty for landlords who may simply wish to regain possession of their property.

Ahead of the upcoming general election, below is a breakdown of what appears to be the general approach by the major political parties to matters surrounding landlord and tenants:

Labour Party:

  • Rent controls - limiting a Landlord's ability to increase rent to the rate of inflation
  • Introduce minimum standards
  • Open-ended tenancies

Conservative Party:

  • Abolish no-fault evictions
  • Introduce lifetime deposits

Liberal Democrats:

  • Introduce longer term tenancies
  • Rent controls - limiting a Landlord's ability to increase rent to the rate of inflation

Green Party:

  • Rent Controls - limiting a Landlord's ability to increase rent to the rate of inflation
  • More secure tenancy agreements

Achieving the correct balance between the interests of landlords and tenants is certainly a difficult task for any government to deal with. Whilst the abolition of "no-fault" evictions will be welcomed by tenants, for landlords, such changes are likely to create a degree of uncertainty, confusion and perhaps create a market where individuals are unwilling to let a property on a private basis due to such rigorous obligations and regulations.

If you are a private landlord, seeking advice at the start of the tenancy process will ensure that you are compliant with all your current obligations following the implementation of the Deregulation Act 2015, and any future obligations that may be introduced, to help you avoid potential issues arising when wishing to obtain possession of your property.

Our dedicated team provides expert advice to both landlords and tenants on a range of aspects relating to the landlord and tenant relationship. For more information on the Landlord and Tenant services we offer, please visit our dedicated webpage.

If you are considering letting your property, obtaining possession, or you are experiencing problems with your tenant, our Dispute Resolution team can help. Contact our dedicated Client Relations Team on 01603 693500 or email us using the 'Make an enquiry' form. Appointments available at our Norwich, North Walsham and Sheringham offices.

*This article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or other professional advice.