The Renters (Reform) Bill and What it Means For You
PATRICK ANSELL >
PartnerWed 17 May 2023
Today, the government published its Renters (Reform) Bill which is a proposed new law arguably constituting the largest overhaul of the private rental sector in England since the 1980s.
As confirmed by the release, under the proposals, landlords will no longer be able to terminate a tenancy agreement without providing a justification, as the current mechanism for 'no fault' evictions (Section 21) is due to be abolished.
Other noteworthy measures in the bill include:
- Landlords are only being allowed to terminate a tenancy without their tenants agreement if they have a valid reason for doing so.
- Additional protections for the most vulnerable renters, including those with children or on benefits.
- Preventing landlords from raising rent arbitrarily and allowing tenants to recover some of the rent paid if their home fails to meet certain standards.
- Allowing tenants to request permission to keep pets and landlords being unable to refuse such requests without good reason.
- Making it easier for tenants to move out when their housing needs change or it isn’t at an acceptable standard without negative legal repercussions (e.g., being tied in to a long term contract).
- Landlords having to give tenants more warning before increasing rent.
- Greater powers for local government to clamp down on the most extreme offenders, and increased penalties for non-compliant landlords.
- In addition, with a view to helping and encouraging responsible landlords (and tenants) it is also proposed that a Private Renters’ Ombudsman will be established to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants without the need to take legal action.
- It will be easier for responsible landlords to recover possession from anti-social tenants.
- An online property portal is to be developed to help landlords understand and meet their responsibilities, as well as to give councils and tenants the resources to take action against rogue landlords.
- For those involved within the rental sector (e.g. landlords, tenants, solicitors, estate agents) it will be essential to be familiar with the new regime before it comes into force following Royal Assent to ensure you are compliant as well as to plan ahead for the potential positive and negative consequences of it.
From what is currently known about the proposed new legislation it is clearly a much more favourable development for tenants than it is for landlords. Taking this into account it seems inevitable that some landlords will seek to evict their tenants before the new law bites and/or it may persuade them to leave the private rental sector altogether.
If you have any concerns about the proposed new law and how it will affect your business, or you require general assistance or advice about a contentious landlord and tenant matter then please contact Patrick Ansell directly by email by clicking the ‘contact us’ button or call Taylor Rose MW on 020 3540 4444. For more information about our Property Litigation Department, please click here.