The Government has introduced a Bill that aims to deliver “safer, fairer and higher quality homes in the private rented sector for tenants and landlords”*
The Bill was introduced on the 17th May 2023 for England, delivering on the Government’s 2019 manifesto, including changes to the ban on no-fault evictions.
When will the Renters (Reform) Bill become law?
The Bill will need to go through the usual parliamentary process before it can become actual legislation. It has now gone through two readings in the House of Commons and was included in the King's Speech. According to the Government’s timetable, the Bill should pass legislation by Christmas of this year. In terms of when this will actually affect landlords and tenants, that is unlikely to be until Autumn 2024.
Before the Bill finally becomes law, it will almost certainly be subject to change as its progress through parliament continues.
What does the Bill include?
The Renters Reform Bill aims to ensure that tenants have greater security in their homes and that landlords have the recourse they need to remove anti-social tenants or when they have a change in their own circumstances. The proposals include (but aren’t limited to):
- Making it illegal in England for landlords to evict tenants ‘without fault’ and requiring landlords to provide a reason for reclaiming the property (the proposed changes in England follow similar measures already introduced in Scotland and Wales). This will be achieved through the abolition of Section 21 eviction notices. The Government signposted in the Bill’s second reading that this element of the Bill will not be implemented until “sufficient progress has been made to improve the courts” as stated by the Levelling Up Committee Report published on 20 October 2023. No timings have been confirmed, however, digitisation of the process, prioritisation of cases and recruitment were all mentioned as priorities. It may be feasible that when the Bill becomes law, this aspect could be delayed.
- Strengthening measures around possession when anti-social behaviour can be demonstrated.
- Creating a new Ombudsman to help resolve tenant and landlord disputes.
- Ensuring that the availability of student lets isn't damaged with the end of fixed term tenancies.
- Concerns at the risk of landlords abusing their right to regain possession when selling a property.
- Launching a new online Property Portal to provide a hub of rental information, including a database of residential landlords and privately rented properties in England.
- Enabling tenants to request the right to have a pet in the property, which a landlord can’t refuse without good reason, and confirmation that costs associated with tenants obtaining pet insurance will not be prohibited under the Tenant Fees Act.
- Outlawing bans on renting to tenants in receipt of benefits or with children.
- Ensuring that all private rented sector homes in the UK meet a legislated Decent Homes Standard.
What are your next steps as a landlord?
There is no imminent change that will affect landlords and tenants alike, and the majority of landlord/tenant relationships will remain unaffected post any legislation changes.
If you have any questions, please speak to your local branch.