The Renters (Reform) Bill will deliver the government’s commitment to a fairer private rented sector. It will legislate for reforms set out in the private rented sector white paper published in June 2022.
The Renters (Reform) Bill will improve the system for both the 11 million private renters and 2.3 million landlords in England. Reforms are carefully balanced and have been developed in consultation with landlord and tenant groups over the past five years. The Renters (Reform) Bill will:
|· Abolish section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and move to a simpler tenancy structure where all assured tenancies are periodic – providing more security for tenants and empowering them to challenge poor practice and unfair rent increases without fear of eviction;
· Introduce more comprehensive possession grounds so landlords can still recover their property (including where they wish to sell their property or move in close family) and to make it easier to repossess properties where tenants are at fault, in cases of anti-social behaviour and repeat rent arrears;
· Provide stronger protections against backdoor eviction by ensuring tenants are able to appeal excessively above-market rents which are purely designed to force them out. Landlords will still be able to increase rents to market price for their properties.
· Introduce a new Private Rented Sector Ombudsman that private landlords must join that is intended to provide fair, impartial, and binding resolution to many issues and to be quicker, cheaper, and less adversarial than the court system;
· Create a Privately Rented Property Portal to help landlords understand their legal obligations and demonstrate compliance, alongside providing better information to tenants to make informed decisions when entering into a tenancy agreement. It will also support local councils – helping them target enforcement activity where it is needed most; and
· Give tenants the right to request a pet in the property, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse. To support this, landlords will be able to require pet insurance to cover any damage to their property.
Alongside the Rented Homes Bill, we are working in partnership with the Ministry of Justice and HM Courts and Tribunals Service, to ensure that, in the small proportion of tenancies where court action is required, court users can use a modern, digital service. This remains a priority for the government.
The private rented sector white paper also committed to further reforms to support both landlords and tenants. We remain fully committed to implementing these reforms and will bring forward legislation at the earliest opportunity to:
|· Apply the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector to give renters safer, better value homes and remove the blight of poor-quality homes in local communities. This will help deliver the government’s Levelling Up mission to halve the number of non-decent rented homes by 2030. We launched a consultation in September 2022 to ensure the Decent Homes Standard is applied and enforced appropriately and fairly in the private rented sector. We will respond to this and set out the next steps in due course;
· Make it illegal for landlords and agents to have blanket bans on renting to tenants in receipt of benefits or with children – ensuring no family is unjustly discriminated against when looking for a place to live; and
· Strengthen local councils’ enforcement powers and introducing a new requirement for councils to report on enforcement activity – to help target criminal landlords.
We’ve put together a helpful guide which explains the reforms in more detail which can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guide-to-the-renters-reform-bill
The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee launched its inquiry into the Private Rented Sector Reform in July 2022. The aim of the inquiry was to scrutinise the Government’s plans to, among other things: introduce a decent homes standard for the private rented sector; reform the system of tenancies and abolish no-fault evictions; reform the grounds on which landlords can take possession of their properties; and better protect tenants from unfair rent increases.
The committee sought contributions from key stakeholders including the NRLA, the British Property Federation, Shelter and Generation Rent and members of the public to inform its thinking. The Committee published its report and recommendations in February 2023.
We have considered and responded to each of the committee’s recommendations in our response which we will publish shortly.
When it is introduced to Parliament (expected today), the Bill will be published in full, which is known as the ‘first Reading’.
The next step is a Second Reading, which is the first opportunity for MPs to debate the general principles and themes of the Bill. This is expected to take place week commencing 5 June 2023.
The legislation will implement many of the proposed measures from the White Paper ‘A Fairer Private Rented Sector’ that was published in June 2022. This can be read in full here; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-fairer-private-rented-sector
Read the Government announcement here; https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-introduces-landmark-reforms-to-deliver-fairer-private-rented-sector-for-tenants-and-landlords