Highlights of the Renters' (Reform) Bill 2023

Highlights of the Renters’ (Reform) Bill 2023

The Renters’ (Reform) Bill has been introduced to Parliament, promising significant changes to the lettings system in England and aiming to create a fairer environment for both tenants and landlords. Described as a “once-in-a-generation overhaul of housing laws,” the Bill has attracted close attention from landlords who are keen to understand its implications. 

Let’s delve into the key provisions of the bill and explore how it may impact landlords in the UK, brought to you by leading estate agents in Manchester.

What You Need to Know

One of the significant changes proposed in the Bill is the introduction of measures to make it more challenging for landlords to evict tenants. The bill abolishes the “no-fault” evictions under section 21, meaning that landlords will need to provide an approved reason for eviction through a notice under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. While this change may initially seem concerning, it is worth noting that only a small percentage of tenants are currently evicted using section 21. Moreover, the Bill promises to strengthen grounds for possession, providing landlords with enhanced tools to address issues such as rent arrears and antisocial behaviour.

Another noteworthy provision of the Renters’ (Reform) Bill is the recognition of tenants’ right to have pets. Landlords will no longer be able to unreasonably refuse consent for tenants to keep pets, and refusal or consent must be provided within 42 days of the request. While this may raise concerns for some landlords, the Bill also acknowledges that landlords can require tenants to obtain pet insurance, ensuring protection against potential damages caused by pets. 

The Bill also aims to address the issue of blanket bans on letting to tenants on benefits. Landlords will no longer be able to impose such bans, further promoting fairness and accessibility in the rental market.

Additionally, the Renters’ (Reform) Bill introduces the concept of the Decent Homes Standard, which will apply to all landlords. This standard sets minimum requirements for rental properties, ensuring that they meet health and safety standards. By enforcing this standard, the government aims to improve the living conditions of tenants and reduce the number of unsafe and substandard rental properties.

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To support the implementation of these changes and resolve disputes, the Bill proposes the establishment of a Private Renters’ Ombudsman. This independent body would assist in resolving disputes between landlords and tenants, alleviating pressure on the court system and providing a more streamlined and efficient resolution process.

It is important to note that the Renters’ (Reform) Bill is still awaiting Royal Assent and is expected to come into effect in spring 2024. There will likely be a transition period for existing tenancies, with new tenancies subject to the new provisions sooner. Landlords should stay informed and prepared for the changes, ensuring compliance with the evolving legislation. 

In a nutshell, the Renters’ (Reform) Bill presents a significant transformation in the lettings landscape, aiming to create a fairer and more secure rental market for tenants while offering increased rights and clarity for landlords. 

Understanding the bill’s provisions and staying updated with its progress can help landlords navigate the changing landscape and continue to provide quality rental properties to their tenants. Seeking legal advice and engaging with professional property management services can also be beneficial in adapting to the evolving regulatory framework and ensuring a smooth rental experience for all parties involved.

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To Summarise 

  • The bill will make it more difficult for landlords to evict tenants by abolishing “no-fault” evictions under section 21 and requiring an approved reason for eviction under section 8.
  • Landlords will no longer be able to issue blanket bans on renting to tenants on benefits.
  • Tenants will have the right to keep pets, and landlords cannot unreasonably refuse consent for pets, although they can require pet insurance.
  • The Decent Homes Standard will be introduced, setting minimum requirements for rental properties to ensure health and safety.
  • A Private Renters’ Ombudsman will be established to assist in resolving disputes between landlords and tenants.
  • Rent increases will be limited to once per year, and tenants will have the right to challenge unfair rent increases.
  • Other provisions include the end of fixed-term tenancies, changes to landlord grounds for possession, and the requirement for landlords to join an ombudsman scheme and register their properties on a new portal.

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