Lettings Update for June
A Word From our Head of Residential Lettings, Jonathan Parker...
Renters (Reform) Bill published
Introduced to the House of Commons on Wednesday, 17 May 2023, the Bill sets out the UK Government’s plan to deliver on the Conservative Party’s policies to reform the private rented sector in England. The legislation will implement many of the measures that the UK Government included in its ‘A Fairer Private Rented Sector’ White Paper that was published in June 2022.
The objective of the Bill is to ensure renters have access to a secure and decent home and that landlords retain the confidence to repossess their properties where they need to (for example, if they wish to sell, move a family member in or in the event of rent arrears or anti-social behaviour).
The Bill will:
- Abolish Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and reform tenancy agreements where all assured tenancies are periodic (although please note landlords will still have the ability to repossess their property as above).
- Introduce more possession grounds where tenants are at fault, for example, in cases of anti-social behaviour and repeat rent arrears.
- Provide stronger protections against retaliatory evictions.
- Introduce a new Ombudsman that all private landlords must join.
- Introduce a new Property Portal, including a database of residential landlords and privately rented properties in England.
- Give tenants the right to request a pet in their property, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse.
Further measures the UK Government will legislate for include:
- Apply the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector.
- Make it illegal for landlords and agents to have blanket bans on renting to tenants in receipt of benefits or with children.
- Strengthen local council’s enforcement powers and introduce a new requirement for councils to report on enforcement activity.
- The measures contained in the Bill will need to overcome normal legislative hurdles, and the changes will be introduced in stages as the provisions are passed into law. The Bill will be debated in Parliament and then approved by the House of Commons and the House of Lords and once it has received Royal Assent, it becomes law and is known as an Act.
Jonathan comments; "Whilst these measures still need to pass through Parliament, the majority of these proposals have been well publicised for several years and there is nothing too surprising at this stage. No doubt there will be tweaks and changes before they come into effect! Change can often be disconcerting, but landlords should be reassured to hear that they can still repossess their properties if needed (albeit the actual process for doing so will be different) - this was one of the major worries landlords had when this legislation was first announced. We look forward to hearing further detail in due course. If you have any queries in the meantime, please get in touch with your nearest Pattinson office."
Head of Residential Lettings