In a recently published whitepaper, the Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities outlined their plans for creating a “fairer private rented sector”. This policy paper addresses a number of areas of concern for people who are in private rented accommodation, acknowledging that both tenants and landlords need to have the right level of protection in place to make the renting experience a positive one for both parties.
In the foreword of the white paper, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, states that the white paper “underlines [their] commitment, through the Renters Reform Bill, to ensure all private landlords adhere to a legally binding standard on decency.” The Renters Reform Bill, which was first suggested in 2019, has recently been pulled forward and is currently going through the parliamentary ratification process before coming into force.
Section 21 evictions to be banned
One of the changes under the Renters Reform Bill people are looking forward to most will be the abolition of Section 21 evictions, which are also know as ‘No fault’ evictions. Under current legislation, landlords have the right to terminate tenancies at any time, albeit under certain conditions.
This has unfortunately been used by some unscrupulous landlords to unfairly evict tenants, simply because they raised justified issues about the quality of the property they were renting. The existing threat of being evicted at short notice has caused some renters to feel they are unable to discuss legitimate concerns with their landlord. The possibility of having to move also means that many do not feel they can truly put down roots in a community, in case they are evicted from their homes.
The Renters Reform Bill will also provide tenants with the ability to challenge unjustified rent increases and possibly obtain refunds on rent paid, if the property is considered unhealthy or unsafe. The Bill also aims to put an end to end rent-review clauses which allow the landlord to increase rent arbitrarily. This would allow residents to move out of a low-quality property without being liable for the rent.
Local councils are also to be given increased powers when challenging landlords as well as increased fines where serious offences are evident.
In addition to this, the Decent Homes Standard will be extended to the private sector. Currently the standard only applies to social housing. This will mean that all rented accommodation will soon have to meet the same quality standards, meaning they must be free from serious health and safety hazards and landlords must keep the properties in a good state of repair, with clean, appropriate and useable facilities.
Support for private landlords
While the white paper and Renters Reform Bill seek to provide tenants with important rights, the bill also offers private landlords increased support and will ensure that they still have the ability to efficiently recover their property from antisocial tenants. Support will come in the form of both a newly established ombudsman, who will help settle disputes between residents and landlords quickly, without cases having to go to court. In addition to this, the government are planning to introduce a centralised portal where landlords can find help in complying with their responsibilities as well as ensuring tenants understand their rights.
Let AWH help you
Staying on top of the tasks needed to keep your property fit for rental can be a full time job. We know that many landlords in the private rented sector struggle to balance that with the other commitments they have. Our Property Management team is here to help!
With over 20 years of experience in property management, we pride ourselves in offering an outstanding service to landlords and tenants alike. By working together with you, and communicating regularly and consistently with your residents, we work hard to help you improve that all-important landlord/tenant relationship. Our experts will also suggest a maintenance plan, to ensure your property is kept up to standard, keeping renovation costs manageable at the same time.
Want to find out more? Speak to our Property Management experts on 0800 071 5517 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to helping you.