Renters' Reform Bill is finally published by the Government

Steve Lumley·18 May 2023·5 min read
Renters' Reform Bill is finally published by the Government

The much-anticipated Renters' Reform Bill has finally been published with a raft of changes that will impact landlords - including the abolishing of section 21 'no-fault' evictions.

The move will see renters getting the right to challenge a landlord without the fear of being evicted.

However, the government says that landlords will benefit because it will make it easier to recover their properties when they need to – for example, if they want to sell up or if tenants refuse to pay rent.

The reforms will also strengthen landlord powers to evict anti-social tenants much quicker.

Fixed term tenancies to end

While many landlords will be disappointed with the contents of the Renters' Reform Bill, student landlords will be dismayed to learn that the Bill's publication confirms that fixed term tenancies will be ending and all tenancies will be periodic.

The new Bill 'lacks detail'

The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) says the new Bill 'lacks detail' and its chief executive, Ben Beadle, said: "Responsible landlords need to be confident that when Section 21 ends, where they have a legitimate reason, they will be able to repossess their properties as quickly as possible.

"Without this assurance, the Bill will only exacerbate the rental housing supply crisis many tenants now face."

He added: "Whilst we welcome the Government's pledge to ensure landlords can effectively recover properties from anti-social tenants and those failing to pay rent, more detail is needed if the Bill is going to work as intended."

When a tenant breaches their tenancy agreement

The bill was first proposed in 2019 and will see notice periods being reduced when a tenant breaches their tenancy agreement or damages a landlord's property.

And tenants will get the legal right to keep a pet in their home - with landlords being unable to 'reasonably refuse' the request.

Landlords will also have to meet the Decent Homes Standard which is being applied to the private rented sector for the first time.

There will also be a ban on landlords refusing to rent to tenants who receive benefits or have children.

'Reforms to the private rented sector in England'

Timothy Douglas, the head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark, said: "Reforms to the private rented sector in England have been long awaited and the Bill will bring much-needed clarity to letting agents, their landlords and tenants.

"Propertymark will support the UK Government to ensure the specific details work in practice for those on the ground, whilst providing both security and fairness for both parties of the rental agreement."

He added: "It is also important implementation is well planned and managed as these reforms are significant for the sector."

Stronger enforcement powers to target criminal landlords

The Renters' Reform Bill will give councils powers for stronger enforcement so they can target criminal landlords.

Landlords will also see the introduction of a new Ombudsman to provide quicker and cheaper resolutions to disputes.

And there will be a digital Property Portal for landlords to understand their obligations and help tenants make better decisions when signing a new tenancy agreement.

'Powerless to put things right'

Michael Gove, the housing secretary, said: "Too many renters are living in damp, unsafe, cold homes, powerless to put things right, and with the threat of sudden eviction hanging over them.

"This Government is determined to tackle these injustices by offering a New Deal to those living in the Private Rented Sector; one with quality, affordability, and fairness at its heart."

He added: "Our new laws will support the vast majority of responsible landlords who provide quality homes to their tenants, while delivering our manifesto commitment to abolish Section 21 'no-fault' evictions."

Accommodation for Students

The team at Accommodation for Students are currently liaising with the NRLA on the next steps in putting forward the concerns of student landlords and will be hosting a webinar on this topic shortly. If you would like to input into this process email [email protected]