Reform of the private rented sector03/08/2022
First proposed by Theresa May back in 2019 and then shelved during the pandemic, the Renters Reform Bill is now back on the agenda following action from Secretary of State for Housing, Michael Gove.
The Government recently published its White Paper, A Fairer Private Rented Sector, detailing a series of changes which have been described as the biggest shake up in the sector since the 1990s.
This is set to be introduced before the end of spring 2023 in the 2022 – 23 parliamentary session.
So, what does the proposed Renters Reform Bill mean for landlords?
The current position is that under Section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act landlords can give notice to tenants with an assured shorthold tenancy to leave within eight weeks.
This is often referred to as a ‘no fault eviction’ because it can happen without any reason having to be given and with no fault on the tenant’s part required.
As most private landlords will be more than aware, it is the proposed abolishment of Section 21 evictions which has dominated headlines and is a large focus of the bill, but there are numerous other proposed changes that landlords should be aware of.
Proposed end to no fault evictions
The Government intends to simplify tenancy structures by moving all tenants onto a single system of periodic tenancies to provide greater security for renters.
Under the new system, tenants will need to give a landlord two months’ notice if they want to leave a tenancy and landlords will only be able to evict a tenant if they have valid grounds.
This means a tenant can leave poor quality housing without remaining liable for the rent and a tenancy will only come to an end if the tenant ends it, or the landlord has a valid, legal reason for doing so.
Reformed grounds for possession
The Government recognises that responsible landlords are an important part of the housing market and need to be able to regain possession of their properties when necessary.
The Government’s White Paper includes a 12 point action plan and outlines its intentions to better support landlords who wish to sell a property, along with allowing landlords and their close family to move into a rental property, as long as this happens after the first six months of a tenancy.
There are also plans to tackle repeat offending tenants who rack up serious arrears, making eviction mandatory if someone has been in at least two months’ rent arrears three times within the last three years.
Other proposed changes include:
- Plans to end the use of arbitrary rent review clauses and limiting rent increases to once per year.
- Introduction of a new mandatory Ombudsman for all private landlords renting out property in England.
- Introduction of a digital Property Portal which will allow landlords to demonstrate compliance with their legal requirements to help them attract prospective tenants.
- No more blanket bans on renting to families with children or those receiving benefits.
- Plans to better accommodate tenants with pets, with legislation to make sure landlords cannot unreasonably withhold consent when a tenant asks to have a pet in their home.
There is currently no date set for when these proposals may come into force but we will keep you updated as to progress of passage of the Bill.
How can we help?
Mincoffs has an expert property litigation team, with vast experience in successfully dealing with residential landlord and tenant cases primarily acting for landlords.
The team can assist with advice on issues in relation to breaches of the residential tenancy agreement including breach of tenant obligations, preparation and service of S21 Notices or S8 Notices, legal representation in proceedings, or gaining possession of your property.