Long-awaited proposals to create a “fairer private rented sector” have finally been published by the Government, in a weighty 86-page document!
In the biggest industry shake-up since 2004, the White Paper sets out policy proposals that will pave the way for what will likely become the Renters’ Reform Bill. You can read the whole document here.
For those of you who prefer a summary, I have provided the following snapshot, with the proviso that none of this is yet law.
Once law, the new Act could mean:
- Abolishing Section 21 notices, creating a requirement for landlords to provide good reason to give tenants notice. New clauses will be created under Section 8 procedure to allow property owners to give notice if they, or family members, want to move in or sell up. Landlords will still be able to recover possession if the tenant defaults on rent payments, or is guilty of anti-social behaviour.
- Improving The Courts and Tribunal Service, to help speed up legal proceedings.
- Abolishing fixed term contracts meaning tenancies will start on a periodic basis – month to month – with the tenant now having to give 2 months’ notice to vacate, rather than one.
- Providing Council funding to enforce a ‘Decent Homes Standard’ for rented accommodation. This is a sensible approach and I am confident we, and also our colleagues at RDA for many of our overseas clients, already meet this standard. Regrettably, councils’ own social housing stock is not mentioned here.
- Introducing a new single Ombudsman for the Sector enabling landlord/tenant disputes to be more effectively and quickly resolved.
- Giving tenants the right to request pet ownership, which the landlord must consider and not unreasonably refuse.
- Investigating ways that tenants may be able to ‘passport’ deposits when they vacate properties.
On a positive note for landlords, they will still be able to recover possession of their properties and it may be a swifter process if a tenant defaults. It will also resolve the current inequity, whereby tenants only give one months’ notice but a landlord is required to give two.
Minor disputes may also be quicker to resolve, if the resolution system is streamlined, to the benefit of both parties.
In summary, this is unlikely to become law for at least 12 months and I anticipate many twists and turns along the way. Proposals are bound to be updated and changed.
As always, please get in touch if you have any questions or queries and I hope you have found this overview helpful.
Please drop me me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01273 771977.