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The UK government’s repeated failure to abolish Section 21 notices, which allow landlords to evict tenants without providing a reason, has been a source of significant controversy and frustration. Despite promises dating back to 2019, the legislation to end these “no-fault” evictions has yet to be implemented, leaving many renters in a state of ongoing insecurity.

Historical Context

In April 2019, the UK government announced plans to scrap Section 21 notices, responding to widespread concerns about the impact of housing insecurity on tenants. This announcement was followed by consultations and the inclusion of the promise in the Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto, aiming to offer a “better deal for renters”.UK Parliament Commons Library – Parliament Commons Library – Research Briefings

The Renters Reform Bill

The Renters Reform Bill, which would abolish Section 21, was first introduced in May 2023. It aimed to replace the “no-fault” eviction process with a system that requires landlords to provide valid grounds for possession under an updated Section 8. However, the implementation of this Bill has been delayed repeatedly, with the government now tying its enactment to broader court reforms, which have no clear timeline for completion.

Impact on Tenants

The continued use of Section 21 notices has significant negative effects on tenants. Many renters live with the constant fear of eviction, which can deter them from requesting necessary repairs or challenging unfair rent increases. This situation is particularly detrimental to families with children, who suffer from disrupted education and an inability to establish stable roots in their communities.

Research indicates that housing insecurity contributes to poorer mental health among tenants and adversely affects their overall wellbeing. The ease with which landlords can issue Section 21 notices undermines tenant rights and perpetuates a power imbalance in the private rental sector.

Abuse of Section 21 Notices

One of the most egregious issues with Section 21 notices is their abuse by unscrupulous landlords. Some landlords use these notices to evict tenants who have fully complied with their lease agreements, including adhering to rent increase clauses. This is often done to replace tenants with new ones who can be charged higher rents, thereby maximising the landlords’ profits.

Reports indicate that landlords often issue Section 21 notices to tenants who request repairs or challenge substandard living conditions. This creates an environment where tenants are afraid to assert their rights due to the risk of sudden eviction.

Furthermore, some landlords exploit Section 21 notices to bypass rent control agreements, using evictions to circumvent legal limitations on rent increases and achieve financial gains at the expense of tenant stability.

The Legislative Delays

Delays in abolishing Section 21 stem from the need to improve the court system for more possession cases. The government has pledged significant investments to digitise court processes and enhance the capacity of the judiciary to handle eviction cases efficiently. However, these reforms are complex and time-consuming, further postponing the abolition of Section 21 Notices.

Continued postponement of this crucial legislation, despite repeated assurances, represents a significant failure on the part of the UK Parliament to protect renters. This failure not only undermines tenant security but also erodes trust in governmental promises and commitments.


The inability to enact legislation to end Section 21 evictions highlights a significant gap between political promises and actionable policy. Government delays reforms, leaving millions vulnerable despite acknowledging harm from “no-fault” evictions.

The abuse of Section 21 notices by unscrupulous landlords further exacerbates this issue, demonstrating a pressing need for legislative action. It is essential for the government to prioritise these reforms and deliver on their promises to ensure a fairer and more secure rental market for all.

360 Law Services offers comprehensive legal assistance to both landlords and tenants regarding Section 21 notices and housing legislation.

We draft and review notices, represent clients in legal proceedings, mediate to resolve disputes, and guide them on upcoming changes from the Renters Reform Bill.

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