The lettings market has been plunged into further uncertainty after the Renters Reform Bill received its second reading earlier this month (October), with plans to ban “no-fault” evictions placed on hold.
The Government announced that no decision would be made, pending a long-overview of the courts system. But it is this good news or bad?
No vote was taken – as is common at this parliamentary stage – and the Bill now continues to the Committee stage where it will undergo line-by-line scrutiny. It remains to be seen if it will become law before next year’s General Election.
So, what do these latest developments mean for landlords and tenants?
From a tenants’ perspective, the Renters Reform Coalition, comprising approximately 20 activist groups and charities, claims the Bill has widespread support and wants the Government to press ahead, regardless.
In a survey of 4,295 English voters between October 17th and 20th, some 72 percent of respondents supported a ban on no-fault evictions.
How will landlords view it? I’ve broken it down the detail below and advantages could eventually include:
A clearer, improved eviction process: Landlords have expressed concerns about the abolition of no-fault evictions, frequently flagging the court system’s shortcomings. They’re likely to welcome Government assurances that the legal system will be made fit for purpose, before Section 21 is scrapped.
Significantly, the Government has reiterated its commitment to strengthen 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.
Transgressions will include consistent rent arrears or antisocial behaviour. Landlords will also be able to move back in or sell.
Calmer market conditions: These may occur, once the Bill becomes law and some uncertainty disappears. However, it’s important to take other factors into account, such as property values, economic slumps and up-turns and general availability. Brighton and Hove remains buoyant, generally.
Student Market: Housing Minister Michael Gove has acknowledged the need to make special provision for the student rental sector and said these should not move to periodic tenancies.
Tax advantages: These may kick in if the Bill delivers incentives to landlords investing in energy-efficient systems and savings.
Safer, better maintained rental property: Beefed-up legislation should help those responsible landlords who already comply and provide self, well-maintained accommodation. This will help to prevent unfair competition and general corner cutting by unscrupulous competitors.
Improving the rental sector’s reputation: The Bill may encourage professionalism and more public confidence, generally. This cannot be a bad thing.
Standardising legislation and boosting understanding: By adhering to new legislation, landlords can avoid costly legislation and hopefully enjoy improved relationships with tenants. A property portal will also be established to promote clearer understanding of individual rental homes’ compliancy.
As I’ve said before, it’s still hard to gauge whether this Bill will have much impact on an already well-regulated sector. It now goes to the committee stage, where it will be scrutinised on a line-by-line basis.
Looking ahead, I’ll continue to monitor this closely 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 firstname.lastname@example.org