Government unveils its plans for the new Renters Reform Bill
The government has finally unveiled its plans for the new Renters Reform Bill during the Queen’s Speech.
The new laws will impact landlords and tenants across the UK to create, the government says, a fair and effective market.
The move will also, it has been confirmed, lead to the abolition of section 21 ‘no-fault’ eviction notices.
That’s when a landlord has no obligation to give a tenant a reason for ending their tenancy.
Compel landlords to give a valid reason for evicting a tenant
Now, the Renters Reform Bill will compel landlords to give a valid reason for evicting a tenant and an ombudsman will be introduced so that any dispute between tenants and private landlords can be resolved without having to go to court.
The bill will also introduce stronger possession grounds should there be repeated incidences of rent arrears and when there is antisocial behaviour, the notice period will be reduced.
Michael Gove, the Levelling Up and Housing Secretary, said: “Too many renters are living in unsafe, damp and cold homes and are powerless to put it right under the threat of eviction.”
He said that new laws will bring an end to the ‘injustice’ and boost the rights and living conditions for millions of tenants.
Strengthen a landlord’s rights of possession
The government says it will strengthen a landlord’s rights of possession so that ‘landlords can regain their property efficiently when needed’.
The government has also revealed that a property portal will be established so that landlords will better understand their responsibilities to tenants.
However, the new landlords’ portal will also give a performance indication for potential tenants and renters will be able to hold their landlord to account.
A briefing document for the new bill highlights that the abolition of section 21 notices will ‘empower tenants’ to challenge unfair rent increases and poor practice ‘without fear of retaliatory eviction’.
Lifetime deposits and a national landlords’ register in England
The White Paper will be unveiled next month, and it appears that the proposals for lifetime deposits and a national landlords’ register in England have been dropped. They were part of the original proposals for a Renters Reform Bill.
The White Paper will also spell out that the Decent Homes Standard will now be legally binding in the private rented sector for the first time.
The chief executive of the lettings platform, Goodlord, Tom Mundy, said that the Renters Reform Bill is “definitely back on the table” after so many delays.
He added: “Now it’s back on the agenda, the government must provide landlords, letting agents and tenants the clarity needed for moving forward with confidence.”
Mr Mundy said that uncertainty will do the market no good - particularly when regulations are ever-changing and there are new requirements being introduced.
‘Significant impact on letting agents and their landlords’
Propertymark’s head of policy and campaigns, Timothy Douglas, said: “The measures proposed will have significant impact on letting agents and their landlords and tenants in England.
“What we need is balance throughout the court and possession processes to ensure that landlords and agents have access to regain possession when justified.”
He added: “The introduction of legally binding standards across the rented sector is welcome, in principle.”
Mr Douglas says that legislators need to be aware of the variety of property types that exist currently in the private rented sector before deciding on what those legally binding standards are.
‘What the Renters Reform Bill will look like’
Simon Thompson, the managing director of Accommodation for Students, said: “There are no real surprises in the government’s announcement of what the Renters Reform Bill will look like so we will have to wait until the details are published.
“And when they are, all landlords and agents will be taking a keen interest in how and when the removal of section 21 will take place and what the new system for possessions will look like.”
The top five cities for student landlords to invest in
Meanwhile, the top five cities for delivering the best chance of profits for student landlords in the UK have been revealed.
Research from CIA Landlords looked at the average student rent in each university city, the cost of property and student demand.
They found that the city offering the best opportunity for potential profits as a student landlord is London with an average monthly rent of £2,565.
Cost of investment will put off potential student landlords
However, the insurance platform says that the cost of investment will put off potential student landlord investors who instead should look at Belfast which offers landlords an average rent of £832 per month.
Durham is in third place with a monthly rent of £782, and in the fourth spot is Edinburgh where students are paying, on average, £1,285.
Manchester is in fifth place with an average rent of £1,160.
Other cities offering decent returns for student landlords include Leeds, Glasgow, Birmingham, and Coventry, as well as Oxford.