Renter’s Reform Bill

Last Updated: 19th April 2024

 

In 2023 the government unveiled their plans to transform the rental sector with the Renters (Reform) Bill. As this is one of the biggest overhauls of the industry for years, we wanted to give you a place to visit to get all of the latest news and information about what changes will be made when the bill is enacted. We will continue to update this page in response to government announcements, so you can be certain that you have access to the most up-to-date information available.

We have broken down the legislation proposals below so you can understand how the upcoming changes will impact you.

 

Banning of no-fault evictions 

Updated 19/04/24

The government have proposed that the abolishment of no-fault Section 21 notices be put on hold until the Justice Secretary is satisfied that the civil court system is adequately prepared to handle possession claims in a timely manner.

 

New eviction powers for Landlords

To counteract the removal of no-fault evictions, the government will be making changes to ensure that Landlords can still obtain vacant possession of their properties when they need to. Tenants who are breaching their tenancy agreement, not paying rent or causing anti-social behaviour can still be given notice to vacate. Repossession grounds will also allow a Landlord to serve notice in instances where they want to sell their property, move in themselves, or move a family member in.

 

Periodic tenancies as standard 

Updated 19/04/24

Another key change is moving Assured Shorthold Tenancies to periodic. Currently, it is standard for tenancies to have a fixed term, meaning that there is a period in which neither Landlord or Tenant can give the other notice. With the reform all tenancies would be periodic, or rolling month-by-month, allowing both parties the power to serve a notice to end the tenancy. The proposal is that Tenants’ statutory notice period would be increased from one month to two months. The government have also proposed that a tenancy must have been in place for at least four months before a notice can be served to end it. With the change in notice period this would mean tenancies would therefore last for at least six months.

 

Rent increase notice changes 

Updated 23/05/23

Landlords currently have the power to mutually agree rent increases with Tenants as many times as they want, or mandate a rent increase using a Section 13 notice to increase the rent payable with a notice of one month. The bill will mean that rents can only be increased annually under all circumstances, and a notice period of at least two months must be given to Tenants to implement any rent increases.

 

Improved rights for Tenants to have pets

Tenants will have more rights to keep pets in their rented homes. The new legislation will require Landlords to consider all requests for pets to be kept at their properties and can only refuse this request if it is deemed unreasonable. No guidance has yet been offered on the exact definition of what constitutes ‘unreasonable’. Tenants who keep pets can be asked to obtain a suitable insurance policy to protect Landlords’ properties from damage.

 

New Ombudsman for Landlords 

Updated 23/05/23

The government will be introducing a new Ombudsman who will be responsible for enforcing the new rules that the Renters’ Reform Bill will introduce. It will be mandatory for Landlords to join. They will also assist with low-level disputes between Landlords and Tenants to try and prevent these escalating to court.

 

Property Portal/Selective Licensing

 Updated 19/04/24

A new online portal will be created to provide rental information to Landlords and Tenants. This portal will help Landlords be aware of their legal obligations and assist Tenants with understanding their tenancy rights. The portal will also include a database of residential Landlords, which it will be mandatory for all current and prospective Landlords to provide their details to before they are able to market their property. It will contain details on Landlords’ compliance history and make Tenants aware of any convictions or banning orders they may have. The government will be reviewing whether the introduction of a property portal would negate the need for local councils to have Selective Licensing schemes.

 

Student Tenancies

Updated 19/04/24

In order to protect the annual nature of student lettings the government have confirmed they will ensure notices can be served to end these types of let in line with the academic year ending.

 

As well as the above changes that are already detailed, the government will also be adding further legislation to the bill in the future. The planned inclusions are:

 

Decent Homes Standard

Currently, the Decent Homes Standard is only applicable for social housing and has several stipulations on keeping properties free from serious health and safety hazards. The ultimate aim is to bring this standard to all rented properties.

Improved rights for families with children and those on benefits

The government will be looking to outlaw blanket bans on renting to families with children and those claiming benefits. In due course, tenancy applications of this nature will need to be considered by Landlords.

 

Greater council enforcement powers

In order to crack down on criminal Landlords, local councils will be given more enforcement powers.

 

At this stage there has been no timeframe given to indicate when the Renters (Reform) Bill will come into force, but we would not expect this to be until late 2024 at the earliest. As we get updates on this important legislation, we will make sure this page is updated accordingly.

 

 

If you would like to discuss the upcoming changes, please don’t hesitate to contact the lettings team.