The Renters (Reform) Bill

With the Government pledging to “bring in a better deal for renters”, including abolishing ‘no fault’ evictions and reforming landlord possession grounds, the Renters (Reform) Bill will legislate for reforms set out in the private rented sector white paper published in June 2022.

The UK rental market is a key lynchpin in the property market, giving flexibility to those using it as a stepping stone to home ownership, and the number of privately rented properties has doubled since 2004 showing the importance of this sector of the housing market.

Thankfully, most landlords and tenants have good experiences within the market, but some renters regularly deal with a lack of security in their rental properties as a direct result of section 21 no fault evictions, with some landlords using them with little notice. This means that renters are forced to leave a home at short notice, resulting in the possibility of issues around work, school and community. Although no fault evictions are to be used as a last resort, some landlord equally face challenges from tenants who refuse to pay rents or engage in anti-social behaviour, leaving the landlord with no other option than to serve a section 21 notice.

The Renters (Reform) Bill has been developed in consultation with landlord and tenant groups over the past five years, and aims to give greater security to the 1.1 million private renters and to ensure that most good landlords - of which there are 2.3 million in England - have the means to repossess when a tenant breaks their agreement. The legislation will implement many of the measures that the UK Government included in its ‘A Fairer Private Rented Sector’ White Paper that was published in June 2022.

Overview of Bill measures
- Abolish section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and move to a simpler tenancy structure where all assured tenancies are periodic – providing more security for tenants and empowering them to challenge poor practice and unfair rent increases without fear of eviction

- Introduce more comprehensive possession grounds so landlords can still recover their property (including where they wish to sell their property or move in close family) and to make it easier to repossess properties where tenants are at fault, for example in cases of anti-social behaviour and repeat rent arrears

- Provide stronger protections against backdoor eviction by ensuring tenants are able to appeal excessively above-market rents which are purely designed to force them out. As now, landlords will still be able to increase rents to market price for their properties and an independent tribunal will make a judgement on this, if needed. To avoid fettering the freedom of the judiciary, the tribunal will continue to be able to determine the actual market rent of a property

- Introduce a new Private Rented Sector Ombudsman that private landlords who will provide fair, impartial, and binding resolution to many issues and prove quicker, cheaper, and less adversarial than the court system

- Create a Privately Rented Property Portal to help landlords understand their legal obligations and demonstrate compliance (giving good landlords confidence in their position), alongside providing better information to tenants to make informed decisions when entering into a tenancy agreement. It will also support local councils – helping them target enforcement activity where it is needed most

- Give tenants the right to request a pet in the property, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse. To support this, landlords will be able to require pet insurance to cover any damage to their property.

- The next step begins on 5 June 2023, where the second reading gives MPs their first opportunity to debate the bill's themes.

Further information can be found here.
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