Renters Reform Bill - Radical reshaping of the rental sector

Last month's Queen’s speech confirmed the UK Government’s commitment to the Renters Reform Bill, introducing new sections which will impact both renters and landlords in a variety of ways. We’ve highlighted the key points so whatever side you’re on you’re aware of how the changes will affect you, if the Bill becomes law.

Strengthening Landlords rights
The Bill will look to reform evidence for regaining possession for landlords. This will introduce new and stronger grounds for repeated incidences for rent arrears and reduce notice periods for anti-social behaviour, ensuring landlords can regain possession of their properties efficiently.
The Government also propose to remove section 21 notices - known as the no fault eviction. As a result, landlords will only be able to serve notice on their tenants via a section 8 notice where there must be a reason for eviction (usually anti-social behaviour or non-payment of rent).

Although initially concerning to landlords, here at Poole Townsend we feel it may not have the negative impact as first thought. Since June last year, our managed portfolio of properties have seen 37 tenancies ended within the South Lakes area. 30 of these were on the behalf of the tenant and seven by the landlord, via a section 21 notice.
Of those seven, five were because the landlord wanted to sell, one went back to holiday letting and one moved a family member in. Therefore, as the section 21 notices appear to be of low use, particularly in our area, it may be that these proposed changes have less impact on landlords than originally appears.

Additionally, although not detailed in the speech, it has always been muted that landlords would still be able to serve notice on their tenants if they wanted to subsequently sell their property.

Protecting renters
Also included in the bill were steps to support tenants, such as the introduction of a new Ombudsman to counter rogue landlords. This will result in landlords having to take action regarding complaints from tenants and therefore, this should ensure that disputes can easily be resolved without the need to go to court which can be costly and lengthy. The Government will also look to apply the legally blinding Decent Homes Standard in the private rented sector for the first time, to make sure that tenants have safer, better quality and better value homes.

As already mentioned, the removal of section 21 notices, will also improve the rights of tenants when they are asked to leave, despite complying with the terms of their tenancy agreement.

Update Thursday 16th June 
The Government has released the full details of what it calls the 'Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper'. 

In addition to the points above, the White Paper outlines:

  • it will be illegal for landlords and agents to have blanket bans on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits, and it will be easier for tenants to have pets
  • doubling of notice periods for rent increases with tenants having stronger powers to challenge if they are unjustified
  • new property portal to assist landlords to comply with their responsibilities and tenants' information to tackle rogue operators. 

This will be the beginning of further consultation and landlords and other stakeholders like the National Residential Landlords Association will have the chance to have their say before the bill is passed.

The team at Poole Townsend will, of course, keep you up to date as the Bill progresses.

You’re in safe hands
With new legislation constantly changing, it’s hard to keep up. Our experts can help you enjoy hassle-free property management and maximise your investment. Get in touch with the Poole Townsend team for more information.

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