Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 allows landlords to regain possession of a residential property either at the end of a fixed term tenancy or during a periodic tenancy, i.e. a tenancy with no fixed date, without having to provide any reason for doing so. There are, nonetheless, a minimum set of requirements that landlords must satisfy, which include having to serve a minimum of two months’ notice upon the tenant but not within the first six months of a tenancy.

Under new proposals, private landlords in England will not be able to regain possession of their property unless they can show a genuine reason for doing so. Currently there is no definition or definitive guide line as to what would be considered a ‘genuine reason’, but examples may include wanting to sell the property or move back into the property.

If the new rules are implemented, landlords would have to serve a notice upon the tenant pursuant to Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988, citing the relevant grounds for possession and, if the property is not vacated after expiry of the notice period, following the formal court procedures. Section 8 possession proceedings are commonly issued where tenants are in breach of their tenancy agreements, such as non-payment of rent. The disadvantage for landlords is that this procedure can be more costly, time consuming and subject to lengthy court delays.