Renters (Reform) Bill Update

The long awaited Renters (Reform) Bill has been published by the government after first being introduced by then-Prime Minister, Theresa May, back in 2019. On 17 May 2023, the bill was introduced to parliament with the promise to “deliver the government's 2019 manifesto commitment to abolish Section 21 'no fault' evictions which will empower renters to challenge poor landlords without fear of losing their home”.

The government estimates that this will bring additional protections to eleven million tenants across England, who will “benefit from safer, fairer and higher quality homes thanks to a once-in-a-generation overhaul of housing laws”, as well as in theory bringing greater protections to two million landlords so that they can evict tenants to “sell their property if they want to, move in a close family member, or when tenants wilfully do not pay rent”

Other reforms proposed by the bill include a reformed courts process with more of the process will be digitised with the intention to reduce delays. A new Ombudsman will also be created with the intention of providing “quicker and cheaper resolutions to disputes”, and there is also to be a new digital Property Portal to assist with the process of creating and signing tenancies.

The bill also:

  • Abolishes the current section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions
  • Moves to a simpler tenancy structure where all assured tenancies are periodic 
  • Gives the right to Tenants to request a pet. The landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse although they will be able to require pet insurance
  • Applies the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector for the first time
  • Blanket bans on renting to tenants in receipt of benefits or with children will be illegal
  • Councils’ enforcement powers will be strengthened and a new requirement for councils to report on enforcement activity – to help target criminal landlords - will be introduced

Once the bill receives Royal Assent the proposal is for the changes to be implemented in two stages. The accompanying explanatory notes state that “in the first stage all new tenancies will be governed by the new rules from the commencement date. In the second stage existing tenancies will transition to the new system on the date appointed by the Secretary of State or on the date they convert to a periodic tenancy if that is earlier”.

Posted on 06/07/2023 by Ortolan

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