The long-awaited Renters’ (Reform) Bill is to be introduced to Parliament today, providing the legislative detail intended to deliver the Government’s 2019 manifesto commitment to abolish section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions.
The Bill, intended to provide new protections for tenants and clamp down on rogue landlords, will build on the raft of reforms previously set out in the Fairer Private Rented Sector white paper last year. It includes:
- the abolition of Section 21 evictions
- the removal of fixed-term contracts
- new alternative routes for eviction, meaning landlords will be able to use Section 8 if they believe there has been a breach of a tenancy agreement
- a new landlord register
- longer notice periods for rent rises and limits on rent increases
- the extension of the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector
More information is available here.
Reflecting on the details announced, safeagent’s chief executive, Isobel Thomson, says:
“The Renters (Reform) Bill is a major step towards driving up standards. The provision of safe, secure rented homes is something that safeagent has – and always will be – committed to achieving. We also recognise that the vast majority of landlords are doing excellent work already.
“Quality and security of tenure must come with flexibility for landlords, and clarity about how new regulations will be enforced.
“Changes to the grounds for tenancy evictions and refusals, restrictions on rent increases, a new regulatory standard and landlords register all point to huge change for the sector – particularly landlords. We need to recognise the potential risk of pushing good landlords away as shrinking supply will only undermine renters’ access to good quality homes.
“Policy must be joined up. Inconsistent, complex regulation will make it harder for landlords to know what their responsibilities are – and for agents to support them.
“Inconsistency makes enforcement harder too. While we are pleased to see the proposed strengthening of councils’ enforcement powers, local authorities will also need greater resources and clarity about how to apply them. Many of the problems around the physical condition of properties would not have arisen if current regulations had been better enforced against the minority of landlords who are uncaring.
“All this reinforces the need to proceed sensibly and collectively. Industry groups, agents, landlords, government and local authorities all need to take a seat at the table to ensure that the outcome is meaningful change that is practical.
“safeagent is closely scrutinising the detail of the Bill to ensure the voice of agents – and their vital role in helping tenants and landlords understand their rights and responsibilities – is recognised. We will be engaging with DLUHC as the Bill progresses through parliament.”