The abolition of Section 21, Housing Act 1988 has been in the works for some time now. Although the date on which it will officially be abolished has not been announced yet, it is anticipated to be later in 2023. In April 2019, the government announced that private landlords will no longer be allowed to evict their tenants at short notice, without good reasons for doing so. In March 2023, the Minister for Housing and Planning indicated that the bill would be brought forward by the autumn.

What is Section 21?

Section 21 of the Housing Act has been in force since 1989. It essentially gives landlords the power to evict a tenant and repossess the property without establishing fault on the tenant’s part. It is often referred to as the “no fault” ground for eviction, as the tenant does not need to be at ‘fault’ in any way to trigger a Section 21 notice. Landlords are still required to give at least 2 months’ notice to their tenants (although a longer notice period may be required where the tenancy is a contractual periodic tenancy), but they do not need to provide a reason for terminating their tenancy. If a tenant does not move out, the landlord can make an application to court for possession. Assuming all the correct procedures have been followed and the tenant has no defence, the Court will make an order for the property to be re-possessed by the landlord; usually within 14 days.

Who does it apply to?

Section 21 applies to private landlords and tenants who have entered into an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement, either where the fixed term has come to an end, or where the tenancy can be regarded as a periodic tenancy.


Once Section 21 is officially abolished, private landlords will not be able to evict tenants and re-possess their property on a ‘no fault’ basis. Landlords will have to rely on Section 8 if they want to re-possess their property, as this requires there to be a legal ground for eviction. There are several legal reasons a landlord could rely on to evict a tenant and re-possess the property under Section 8, these include:

  • Rent arrears of at least 2 months (if they remain unpaid by the date of the hearing)
  • Breach of the tenancy agreement
  • Damage to property

There are other grounds set out in the Housing Act which give private landlords the power to evict tenants, but there must be reasonable grounds to do so.

It is also understood that the government will be making various amendments to the existing Section 8 grounds, as set out in the Renters Reform Bill 2023.

What does this mean, going forward?

The abolition of Section 21 is likely to be well received by tenants, providing more security for them in the long term.

For landlords, the changes are likely to cause difficulties without the ‘safety net’ of the Section 21 route. They must establish a ground for eviction and use Section 8 of the Housing Act.