Renters Reform Bill: What Landlords Need To Know

Posted on May 17, 2023 by Walton & Allen

The Renters Reform Bill was introduced to parliament today, and is set to benefit eleven million tenants across England.

This once-in-a-generation reform of housing laws will empower renters to challenge poor landlord practices without risk of unjustifiably losing their homes.

The new legislation will also make it easier for local councils to act against rogue landlords and promote responsible practices from landlords.

The Renters Reform Bill Proposal

Ban on Section 21 “no fault” evictions

Section 21, which allows landlords to evict tenants without reason, is set to be abolished as proposed in the A Fairer Private Rented Sector white paper published by the government.

The removal of section 21 is intended to empower tenants and protect them from unjustifiable eviction notices. This should increase tenant confidence to challenge disproportionate rent increases and incentivise landlords to resolve property issues.

What are the new grounds for eviction?

Following the removal of section 21 notices, amendments will be made to section 8 to support landlords’ repossession of their properties. New, mandatory grounds for eviction have been proposed, including tenants who have been in at least two months’ rent arrears three times within the last three years. 

New grounds will also be introduced for landlords who wish to sell their properties, and for landlords who wish to move themselves or their family into the rented property.

Other measures will be included to secure landlord’s eviction rights, making it easier to evict tenants in instances of serious anti-social behaviour and criminal activities within the premises.

It will become illegal to ban families, those with children, or those on benefits from renting

The proposal outlines the outlaw of blanket bans on families, those with children and tenants on benefits from renting a property (abolishment of No DSS). 

New legislation will disallow landlords from discouraging and banning prospective tenants under these circumstances, and further action may be taken to support other vulnerable groups that may struggle to access Private Rented Sector accommodation.

Periodic tenancies in favour of Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST)

Tenants will be required to give 2 months’ notice to allow landlords to recoup the costs of finding a new tenant whilst avoiding lengthy void periods.

The abolishment of Assured Shorthold Tenancies prevents tenants from being liable for rent in properties of poor quality, or if there is a change in life circumstances that require them to move, such as a new job.

Minimum housing standards to be introduced

Minimum housing standards will be extended from the Decent Housing Standards that apply to social housing to the private rented sector.

Homes must now provide a base living standard, free from serious health and safety hazards. Landlords must also keep their properties in a good state of repair with clean and usable facilities. Rented properties will also have to be upgraded to an EPC Band rating of C by 2030.

Other notable changes

  • Tenants will be given more rights to keep pets in properties, with more power to challenge unreasonable dismissal. 
  • A new ombudsman covering private landlords will be introduced and membership will be mandatory.
  • Actions taken to tackle unfair affordability barriers preventing renters finding homes e.g, excessive rent advancements.
  • New, mandatory property portal for landlords to demonstrate their legal compliance, and increase local councils’ ability to take action against criminal landlords.

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