Renters’ Reform Bill – What We Know So Far
Making the headlines today, the government is introducing to parliament its long-awaited Renters’ Reform Bill - the biggest shake-up of lettings legislation for a generation. At this stage, the bill is just being introduced so until it goes through parliament, gains Royal Assent and becomes law, we can’t say for certain anything yet but let’s have a look at the major changes being proposed.
Section 21 notices (or 'no fault' evictions) to be abolished
This has been a big thing in the media for years now but we’ve yet to see a landlord evict a tenant when there’s no reason to do so. Why would a landlord get rid of a good tenant who looks after their property and pays the rent in full and on time?
Nevertheless, Section 21 notices are set to be abolished with landlords (provided the tenants have not broken any part of their tenancy agreement) only being able to get their properties back if they are wanting to sell or move back in. As a sweetener, they plan to make it easier for landlords to evict tenants who are in rent arrears or causing anti-social behaviour.
No more fixed-term tenancies
All tenancies are planned to be periodic (month-by-month) from the beginning with tenants requiring to give 2 months’ notice to give landlords more time to secure a new tenant and avoid long void periods. The idea being to give tenants more flexibility.
A new Decent Home Standard
Regulations to ensure landlords keep their properties in a decent condition, free from serious health and safety hazards and in a generally good state of repair. Basically, to push rogue landlords out – something we all want to see.
On top of this, there are proposals to introduce a new ombudsman scheme, a digital property portal where all landlords must register their details and ways of making it easier for tenants on benefits and with pets to rent.
Generally, we don’t feel landlords need to panic. This won’t see a great exit from the market and the media have hyped it up to be worse for landlords than it is. Making it easier to evict tenants who don’t pay rent and cause a nuisance to their neighbours can only be a good thing and although tenants can leave sooner than the standard 6 months now, if the property is presented well, priced correctly and any issues are attend to promptly, most tenants shouldn’t have a reason to leave in the short-term. The government must keep the idea of being a landlord attractive, though. Take that away and all you’ll get is less properties on the market and rent increases for tenants and then, ultimately, nobody’s a winner.