On Thursday, June 16, the Renters Reform Bill was announced, outlining significant changes for landlords and tenants in the United Kingdom.
The bill is included in the government’s most recent white paper “A Fairer Private Rented Sector” and it summarises the government’s commitment to “delivering a fairer, more secure, and higher quality Private Rented Sector”. It has been described as the “most significant shake-up of the PRS in 30 years.”
The Renters Reform Bill, which was first proposed in 2019, was mentioned in the most recent Queen’s Speech and the government’s “Levelling Up” White Paper, which included plans to “reset the relationship between landlords and tenants” by abolishing Section 21 Notices and “ending the unfair situation where renters can be kicked out of their homes for no apparent reason.”
Many “robust and comprehensive changes” are being considered in order to create a Private Rented Sector that meets the diverse needs of the tenants and landlords who live and work within it”.
Let’s take a look:
Abolishing Section 21
The Renters Reform Bill will abolish 'no fault' Section 21 evictions in order to "provide greater security for tenants while retaining the important flexibility that privately rented accommodation provides."
New mandatory ombudsman
The bill will establish a single government-approved Ombudsman to represent all private sector landlords in England, regardless of whether they use a letting agent.
Outlaw blanket ban on benefits
The court has ruled that 'No DSS' or 'No benefits' policies, in which letting agents or landlords refuse to accept applicants receiving benefits, are classed as unlawful discrimination.
Pets in rental properties
The bill will make it easier for tenants to have pets in their homes. All tenants will have the right to request a pet in their house, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse.
Decent rental homes standard
According to the white paper, private rented homes will be required to meet the "Decent Homes Standard" as part of the government's Levelling Up mission to reduce non-decent housing by half, by 2030.
Rent increases or rent in advance
Rent review clauses will be eliminated and rent increases limited to once per year with two months' notice. If a tenant pays multiple months' rent in advance, landlords must repay any advance rent if the tenancy ends sooner than the period for which tenants have paid.
Eviction and gaining possession
The government is enacting new mandatory eviction grounds for landlords who want to sell their property and/or move (themselves or family) back into the rental property. This is not valid for the first six months of the lease (similar to how Section 21 notices now work).
Property portal for landlords and tenants
A single place for landlords to understand their responsibilities, and for tenants to have access to information about their landlord's compliance, and local councils will have better data to crack down on rogue landlords.
When is the Renters' Reform Bill likely to come into force?
The PRS division of the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ confirmed by Michael Gove that the Renters’ Reform Bill will be introduced in “this session of Parliament,” which ends in May 2023. We will keep you informed of any further updates as they happen, but it is likely that these amendments will become law in the near future and we urge all of our landlords to contact us for any further information.