While it has been promised and in discussion for the last couple of years, the Renters Reform Bill was officially introduced to Parliament on the 17th May 2023.
Once passed the bill will legislate the reforms which were set out in the white paper we previously discussed, which was published in June 2022. The bill seeks to deliver on the government’s promised commitment to “bring in a better deal for renters”, which includes the abolition of ‘no fault’ evictions.
As the bill has only just been introduced to parliament, and is therefore not yet law, we wanted to give you another brief insight into some of the points it covers.
You can also read the official guidance on the Government website.
Abolition of section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions
Arguably one of the biggest changes to existing legislation is the removal of the Section 21 or ‘no fault’ evictions. Instead, the Renters (Reform) Bill will seek to move to a simpler tenancy structure with assured periodic tenancies. The purpose is to provide tenants with a greater sense of security, knowing that they cannot be evicted, simply because they raised a legitimate concerns around either the condition of the property or unfair rent increases.
Introduction of more comprehensive possession grounds so landlords can still recover their property
Of course, the Renters (Reform) Bill is not a one-sided affair, but instead seeks to benefit both the tenants and landlords, to ensure that the available rental stock does not dip sharply, which would cause increased pressure on the housing market.
By providing a more comprehensive list of possession grounds under which a landlord can recover their property, the bill aims to ensure landlords also feel assured that their investments are being protected.
Stronger protections against backdoor evictions
Understandably, rents need to increase over time. However, there have been unfortunate instances where more unscrupulous landlords have pushed rent up excessively, in an effort to force unwanted tenants out of the property. The bill seek to put a stop to this practice, ensuring landlords can increase their rents to the current market value of their property, with the option of involving an independent tribunal should a judgment be needed.
Appointment of new Private Rented Sector Ombudsman
With the Renters (Reform) Bill, ‘all private landlords will be required to join a government approved redress scheme, regardless of whether they use an agent’.
Source: Government Guidance
By having a single scheme the aim is to be able to provide a more streamlined Ombudsman service, where tenants can seek redress for free, should their landlord have not addressed a legitimate issue about the tenancy.
The Renters (Reform) Bill covers many other areas, including the creation of a Privately Renter Property Portal – designed to help landlords know what their legal obligations are – as well as the provision of rights for tenants to request having a pet in the property.
We await the final version of the bill with interest, and our experts are available on 0800 071 5517 if you want to discuss how any of the proposed reforms might impact you.