Renters’ Reform Bill: Legislation Delayed Again?
Those involved in the UK rental market waiting with bated breath were hit with further news of delay this week when the Government announced that the publishing of the Renters’ Reform Bill (which Michael Gove had indicated would be this week) had been postponed due to ‘procedural issues’
Let’s use this delay to remind ourselves of what is intended by the long-awaited new legislation.
What is it?
The Renters’ Reform Bill is set to bring about the biggest change to private renting in a generation. Its aim is to improve conditions and rights for millions in the private and socially rented sectors.
The legislation is set to drive up quality for private renters (extending the ‘Decent Homes Standard’ to the sector for the first time) and will, controversially, abolish the section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction process.
The Bill (when finally published) will still need to pass through Parliament before the new legislation can come into effect.
The industry has polar views on what is proposed.
On the one hand, tenant protection is important, on the other, there is growing concern that residential landlords will face greater difficulty recovering their properties in cases of antisocial behaviour and arrears. Anecdotally, landlords leaving the market in response will impact Government housing targets.
Media outlets have suggested that the ‘procedural issues’ being experienced are a cloak for a rebellion from backbenchers who consider the proposed legislation to be excessively ‘pro-tenant’ and that building more homes is a more real-life solution.
What does this mean for Landlords?
Any Bill will undoubtedly face amendment and even dilution before emerging as legislation. However, as it presently stands:
- Landlords have been promised that the grounds for possession under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 will be subject to change, making it more effective to gain possession of their properties when necessary. It is suspected that the bar for issuing a section 8 notice could be lowered to account for the abolishment of section 21 notices.
- A new Private Renters’ Ombudsman will be created to enable disputes between private renters and landlords to be settled quickly, at low cost, and without going to court.
- A new property portal will be introduced to help landlords understand their obligations.
- The backbone of the Bill is the abolishment of Section 21 Notice, a key piece of legislation from the Housing Act 1988 that allows landlords to evict tenants without providing justification. Private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants from their homes at short notice and without good reason.
- The Bill is undoubtedly tenant friendly; it will change the way in which the relationship between landlord and tenants work, providing tenants with new protection which ensures that they’re better protected from so-called ‘arbitrary’ rent increases.
- It is suggested that landlords will not be entitled to “pick and choose” who they rent their property out to. It could become illegal for a landlord to refuse tenancies to families with children or those in receipt of benefits.
The Bill is current with the times and its aim is to improve the current legislation to meet to needs of society, it is hoped that it will benefit both landlords and tenants and make the renting and eviction process much simpler for all parties involved, especially for landlords when a tenant is in breach of their agreement.
Above is just a short summary of the main areas mentioned in the Renters Reform Bill however, it is a lengthy process with much greater depth. Greenhalgh Kerr will be keeping a close eye on the changes and will be sure to follow up this article with any updates to ensure our clients are fully appraised and up to date with their obligations.
If you are a Landlord and would like to discuss and/or receive any advice in respect of possession of your property or recovery of rent arrears, please call us on 0333 200 5200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our friendly and experienced team will be happy to assist you.