After years of uncertainty and delay, the Government has finally unveiled the Renters’ Reform Bill, potentially bringing landmark changes to England’s rental sector.
In fairness, the pandemic delayed the proposed legislation, first outlined in 2019, but the prevarication has caused a lot of concern and worry to England’s 2.3million landlords.
Likewise, it’s not really helped the country’s 11 million private renters as the worry has driven some buy-to-let owners out of the market – reducing supply and driving up rents.
Firstly, it’s important to emphasise that there are many misconceptions about this Bill, arising from a simplistic and headline-grabbing approach in the media.
Secondly, the Bill has to go through both the House of Commons and House of Lords and, no doubt, there will be many amendments. I am no expert in the Parliamentary system but my best guess is that it will take a minimum of 6 months and more likely closer to 12 months before this happens.
With this in mind, we’ve tried to strip out the facts and provide an at-a-glance overview of the likely implications.
If approved, the Bill will:
- Abolish Section 21 “no fault evictions”, removing a landlord’s right to serve two months’ notice to a tenant without reason and the landlord’s right to issue possession proceedings, should the tenant fail to leave.
- Reverting fixed-term tenancies to periodic tenancies only. The likelihood is that a tenant will still be able to have a minimum, 6-month tenancy term, as it currently is under law.
- Removing the landlords’ right to automatically refuse a tenants’ request to have a pet, subject to insurance being taken out and/or protection against pet- related damage. Restrictions imposed by property leases will still apply.
- Strengthening landlords’ legal rights under Section 8 of the Housing Act, beefing up their powers to gain possession if tenants default on rental payments or break tenancy terms. These will include consistent rent arrears or antisocial behaviour and also allow the landlord to move back in or sell.
- Introducing a package of “wide-ranging court reforms” that will target the areas that particularly frustrate and hold up possession proceedings
- Creating a legal requirement for landlords to register with an Ombudsman so that tenants have a simplified legal route for resolution.
- Creating a Privately Rented Property Portal, providing tenants and landlords alike with a clear understanding of whether their property is compliant with all current legislation.
On reflection, it’s hard to gauge whether this Bill will actually have much impact as some of the above is already written into tenancy law, in an already well-regulated sector.
Likewise, much of the new legislation will have very little effect due to a shortage of rental accommodation, particularly in the South East. On a positive note, it will hopefully offer an extra layer of protection to tenants from unscrupulous landlords. Fortunately, these are in a minority and the majority of landlords and tenants, in my experience, work well together.
Looking ahead, I will be keeping a close eye on the Bill and its passage and will update both landlords and tenants regularly.
For a more detailed breakdown, please click on: Guide to the Renters (Reform) Bill – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
As always, if you’d like to find out more about any of these issues, please give us a call on 01273 771977 or drop me a line at email@example.com