1 September 2023
After 5 years in the making, The Renters Reform Bill was introduced to Parliament on 17th May 2023. As it stands, it is the largest reform to tenancies in England since 1988 and will no doubt bring some huge changes for the private rented sector. The intention is to reform the private rent sector and to improve housing quality, which has got to be good news to those currently and intending to rent a home now and into the future
Note: A bill is a proposal to amend a current law or to create a new one. A bill does not become law until it is passed by the legislature. Therefore, everything mentioned below is based on the current proposal which may change before it passes into the statute book.
So, what’s proposed?
There will be no such thing as an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.
- Currently when you rent a home from a landlord in England you will agree to a lease which is called an assured shorthold tenancy. Typically these can be for periods of between 6 and 36 months and are the legal agreement where a landlord, usually the owner of the property, agrees to allow you to rent the home subject to certain conditions, such as pay an agreed amount of rent on a regular basis. The proposed changes are to make all tenancies ‘periodic assured tenancies,’ which means that rather than agreeing to rent a property for a specified period of time, tenancies in effect become open ended. Should you wish to leave then you will be able to serve your landlord with 2 months’ notice at any point.
Abolish section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions.
- Typically should a landlord wish to terminate a tenancy then they generally will use a section 8 or a section 21. The latter has been well publicised as the ‘no fault’ eviction as it doesn’t require that a tenant has breached a defined term within their lease, hence ‘no fault,’ and can only be served once a fixed term has tenancy has come to an end and a tenancy is periodic. As all tenancies are likely to become periodic in the future, keeping the clause would be counter-productive. In future, Landlords will only be able to terminate a tenancy using the amended section 8 notice which has defined reasons and timescales, which gives greater clarity for the tenant and landlord. The amendments to section 8 can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tenancy-reform-renters-reform-bill
- In the new system, rent increases will replicate the existing section 13 process. Which limits increases to once per year and the minimum notice landlords must provide of any change in rent will be increased to two months. If the tenant does not agree to the increase, they can apply to have the rent reviewed by an independent Tribunal which determine the fairness or otherwise of the increase.
Private rented property database.
- Landlords will be required to join a redress scheme and the bill will introduce a Private Rented Section Database where membership will be compulsory. This will mean increased accountability for landlords and tenants will be able to see from whom they are renting.
The right to request a pet.
- Tenants will be allowed to keep a pet with the landlord’s consent unless refusal is reasonable. Landlords can request that the tenant buys insurance to cover the risk of property damage caused by animals.
The bill also covers other measures relating to Decent Home Standards, the introduction of a Private Rented Sector Ombudsman, Privately Rented Property Portal and more in an attempt to ensure that private renters have access to secure and decent homes and that landlords retain the confidence to repossess their properties where they need to.
Whilst no official date has been confirmed by the government, it’s unlikely that the bill will pass into law until at least 2024, if not 2025.
“The idea behind the proposed rent reform bill is to bring legislation in England in line with recent reforms in Scotland and Wales.
“The bill essentially gives tenants more security within their homes and greater clarity on what they can expect from their landlord, making the whole process of renting a home easier and more transparent as well as ensuring that undesirable practises from unscrupulous landlords become a thing of the past..
“As a professional landlord committed to the very highest level of customer service and satisfaction, we are wholeheartedly behind the Bill and believe that it is a positive change for the better.”
Laura, Simple Life Management Team