New Renters Reform Bill: How Will This Affect Landlords and Tenants?
Posted:3rd October 2023
Earlier this year the UK government published proposals to reform the law realting to rental properties that will affect tenants and landlords. The plan is to create a fairer renting experience which means that tenants will have more rights and landlords less power to evict and to impose a blanket ban on refusing to rent to certain people, to aviod discrimination. Here are some of the most notable changes.
No-Fault Eviction Ban
One of the main proposals is to ban no-fault evictions, also known as Section 21 evictions. A no-fault eviction allows landlords to terminate tenancies without any reason. This means that once a landlord serves a tenant with a Section 21 notice, the tenant can be evicted without them being at fault, provided a court order is obtained.
In future, landlords will only be able to evict tenants on the grounds provided by law such as the tenant going into rent arrears, evidence of antisocial behaviour, and property damage. In addition, a tenant will have the right to remain in their home until they choose to terminate the tenancy or when a landlord has a justifiable reason to evict them.
Increased Housing Standards
Another reform is to introduce minimum housing standards for private renters so that homes are free from health and safety hazards and kept in an acceptable, living condition. The government found that 1.6 million people in the UK are living in dangerously low-quality homes which is contributing to national health costs. As such, the new legislation will make it easier for tenants to sue their landlords for rent repayment if their homes are not up to the required standards.
In addition, tenants will be able to leave poor housing without paying rent. Renters will be able to challenge landlords whose houses are of a poor standard without the fear of being evicted. The new law will also double the notice period for rent increases and give tenants stronger rights to contest unjustified rental hikes.
The new law will give tenants the right to request to keep pets in their homes. The government has recognised that pets enhance a person’s quality of life, but according to The English Private Landlord Survey 2021, 45% of private landlords were not happy to rent their property out to tenants with pets. Soon, a landlord must consider all requests to keep a pet and cannot unreasonably deny a request. As well, it will be against the new law for a landlord to turn down renters who receive state benefits or families with children.
More Support for Landlords and Tenants
The government will create a Private Renters Ombudsman. The new Ombudsman will assist landlords and tenants in resolving disputes more effectively and without going to court. This will benefit both tenants and landlords by potentially reducing expenses and resolving issues more quickly. In addition, tenants will be able to seek redress if their landlord fails to deal with a legitimate complaint about their tenancy. Membership of the Ombudsmans Scheme will be mandatory for private landlords.
The establishment of a new Ombudsman will be a positive step towards settling issues swiftly and a point of contact for advice for tenants and landlords. It will also allow landlords to get possession of their properties more efficiently from anti-social tenants and an opportunity for tenants to resolve problems without huge delays.
The government is also introducing a new “property portal” which will give information to landlords to help them comply with their duties under the new rules. It will also help tenants and councils understand what to do in the case of rogue operators. Landlords will be required by law to register with the portal and local councils will be able to take action against those who don’t join it.