The UK government recently released the details of its long-awaited Renters’ Reforms Bill, a draft legislation seeking to overhaul the rental market. The notable changes of this Bill include scrapping Section 21 eviction notices, which provide landlords with the capability to evict a tenant without providing any particular reason.
What do the Rental Reforms Say?
Four years ago, the idea of reforming the rental market was first floated by Theresa May’s government. It was endorsed by subsequent prime ministers, who released a white paper in 2022. The following month, it was confirmed that a draft bill setting out the changes would be ready by the end of that same month. After a brief delay, the legislation was released for public consideration.
When the bill was launched, Housing Secretary Micheal Gove emphasized the commitment to providing renters with quality, affordable, fair housing which was to be the prominent goal according to property experts including Kettering estate agents. The reforms will also aim to end Section 21 evictions, in keeping with an election promise. According to Gove, this will help ensure that everyone in the private rental sector has the security and comfort they need.
The Bill seeks to increase protections for renters in private housing in the UK by enacting several key reforms. These reforms include ending Section 21 evictions to ensure that tenancies can only end if a tenant ends it or if a landlord has a valid, legally defined reason. Landlords will also need a good reason not to let tenants keep a pet in their house, and the Decent Homes Standard, already used in social housing, will be extended to private rentals.
What are the Key Rental Reforms in the Bill?
The Bill further outlines that it is not acceptable for landlords to disallow families with children or those who receive benefits from renting a property. In addition, a Private Renters’
Ombudsman will also be created to facilitate dispute resolution between tenants and landlords, and landlords will have increased power to remove anti-social tenants with reduced notice periods. Furthermore, according to property experts including estate agents in Corby, councils’ enforcement powers will be boosted with increased reporting requirements, and a new property portal will be established to help landlords understand their obligations and to provide tenants with ‘performance information’.
When Could Rental Reforms be Introduced?
The timeline for when rental reforms can be implemented into law still needs to be determined.
Once the bill has gone through the House of Commons and House of Lords, it will receive Royal Assent and formally become law. It is then up to the government to determine when the changes will take effect. According to the National Residential Landlords Association, this could take up to 18 months before implantation can occur.
The government has said that when the first implementation date does come, tenants will be given at least six months to transition to the new laws and twelve months for existing tenancies to convert to the new system. In summary, it has yet to be discovered when rental reforms will be officially introduced as law. Still, it is expected to take around 18 months, depending on how long the bill takes to get through the various stages of parliament.
What do the Proposed Measures Mean for the Rental Market?
The upcoming changes to the rental laws could majorly impact landlords and tenants alike. By abolishing Section 21 evictions, tenants will be granted more security in renting while making it easier for landlords to evict tenants who violate their tenancy agreement.
Furthermore, allowing tenants to keep pets may encourage more people to take up renting and improve the general standard of properties with a decent home standard. On the other hand, new responsibilities and rising costs for landlords could lead to existing property owners leaving the rental market, reducing the number of available homes and raising rental prices.
New Rental Laws: Landlord Preparation will be the Key
Landlords must ensure they are always current on any changes to rental laws and regulations. As the Renters’ Reform Bill is now available, it is now more important than ever to make sure that your rental property is up to the required standards and to make sure that any changes to tenancy agreements are reflected to protect yourself and your tenants from any potential evictions or pet ownership issues.