The Renters (Reform) Bill is a piece of legislation that has been long discussed but has now been formally introduced into the UK parliament in May 2023. The Bill aims to improve the private rented sector for both tenants and landlords in England. Developed in consultation with landlords and tenants, the Bill aims to create a fairer and more secure environment and has several provisions:
- Introducing an national landlord register and to improve standards and increase transparency.
- Establishing a private rented sector ombudsmen that will be able to deal with impartial and buying resolutions to any disputes.
- Doubling the notice period for any rental increases, and preventing tenants being locked into automatic rent increases.
- Improving the security of tenure for tenants by ending “no fault” evictions.
- Strengthening the section 8 which allows landlords to end the tenancy early if there are legal grounds to do so.
- Move the periodic, rolling tenancies without a specific end date and where the tenant must give 2 months notice to leave.
- Strengthen the powers of local authorities to enforce standards and take action against rouge landlords.
- Offer tenants the right to request a pet at the property.
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How is the Renters (Reform) Bill expected to impact landlords?
The Act can expect to improve set to standards and increase transparency through the introduction through the introduction of a national landlords register. This is set to reduce the number of rouge landlords. Increased sector standards are set to minimize the risk of being “undercut by minority of criminal landlords”. The biggest area that will impact landlords will be the abolishment of section 21 “no fault” evictions. The Bill currently proposes that in place of a section 21, section 8 grounds are to be strengthened. Section 8 allows the landlord to end the tenancy where there are legal grounds to do so.
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Section 8 notices
Section 8 is set to include the introduction of new mandatory ground for repeated serious arrears which will make eviction mandatory in the instance the tenant has been at least 2 months in areas on 3 occasions in the previous 3 years, regardless of the arrears at the hearing. The new Section 8 is set to include special grounds if a landlord wishes to sell their property or allow their family to move in, after a tenant has been in the property for a minimum of 6 months.
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Do you as a landlord need to do anything because of the Bill?
Landlords at this moment in time do not need to take immediate action. If the Bill becomes law landlords will need to make changes to their practises.
Landlords will be required to log their details onto a national register and those who let and manage properties will no longer be able to charge letting fees for things such as referencing. Landlords will have to observe any cap on rent increases and taking into consideration the changes around evictions. Properties being let out will need to meet minimum standards, exactly what this means, no-one yet knows.
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When might the Renters (Reform) Bill become law in the UK?
This is extremely difficult to know. It is currently in the very early stages of the parliamentary process and the Government have already started to make changes. For instance, they are now discussing on whether this relates to students properties. This is understanding students giving 2 months notice in a middle of a term could cause landlords problems.
There are predictions that the Reform Bill will become law on the 1st October 2024. New law only normally comes into place on the 1st April or 1st October in each year.
However important to note that the parliamentary process can be lengthy and complex. The Bill will be subject to many amendments and delays. Whilst the Government is committed to delivering the Reforms to the private sector specific details of legislation may change through progresses through parliament. However, it does have full party support. So, even if there is an election we believe the Bill will go through in some form. Alternatively if there was an election it would depend on which party gets into Government first.
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