The Renter Reform Bill

Currently the Rental Market for those in private rental homes and those who are Landlords can be very difficult, competitive and unfortunately fraught with issues. Here in the South West we are seeing an increase in the number of individuals unable to find or afford homes to rent and an increase in difficulties faced by Landlords who have encountered problem tenants during and post the pandemic.

The Government introduced the Renters’ (Reform) Bill to parliament last Wednesday. These “once-in-a-generation” reforms aim to deliver “safer, fairer, and higher quality homes”.

This significant change in the law aims to help both Landlords and Tenants. Tenants will be protected from ‘no fault evictions’ as they will be abolished. This will give much better security and peace of mind to those in the rental market.

Notice periods for rental increases look to double and to be controlled and based on a legal regime, not simply set by private individuals. Tenants will have greater rights, including the right to keep pets in reasonable circumstances and tenancies will no longer be annual contracts year to year. They will instead become rolling contracts but with fewer reasons as to why they may end, specifically the notice that a tenancy has simply come to an end (a ‘no fault eviction’) will be no more.

The Government seeks to introduce more comprehensive possession grounds for Landlords so that they can still recover their property in fair circumstances and to make it easier to repossess properties where tenants are at fault, for example, in cases of anti-social behaviour and repeat rent arrears. Landlords who face issues with problem Tenants therefore look to benefit from a better legal system for eviction and a new Property Ombudsman for private landlords looks to become likely and mandatory for all.

The Government press release said, “A new Ombudsman will provide quicker and cheaper resolutions to disputes, while a new digital Property Portal will enable landlords to understand their obligations and help tenants make better decisions when signing a new tenancy agreement. This will give confidence to good landlords, while driving the criminal minority out of business”.

Overall, the Government states its aim is to better secure safe and consistent homes for tenants with the introduction of a system where a home is a secure and safe place to be without living in fear of a notice to move. Equally they want to be able to better protect tenants from poor practices and bad management of properties.

We are of course at the very early stages and at some 90 pages in length the proposal is detailed but we look forward to the new system being debated in Parliament, likely during June and/or July and we will of course update all of our clients in due course.

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