The Government has announced that it is aiming to introduce a Renters Reform Act before March 2023, describing it as “the biggest shake up of the private rented sector in 30 years”.
Many new measures are set to be introduced, including regulations around evictions, rent, living standards, pets and tenancy types. In this blog, we’re outlining the key changes that are expected to come into effect when the new act is introduced.
Goodbye Section 21
Under the new act, no-fault Section 21 evictions will be banned. This means that landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants without a lawful reason. In addition, the Government is aiming to simplify tenancy agreements – moving all tenants onto a single system of periodic tenancies, making it easier for tenants to leave due to a change in circumstance or due to “poor quality housing”.
Rent review clauses will end
The way in which a landlord can increase the rent (and how often) will be tightened. Rent review clauses will end; a landlord will only be able to increase rent once a year and the notice period for rent increases will be doubled to two months. This therefore gives tenants more time to challenge any rent increases.
The Decent Homes Standard will be rolled out to the private sector
The Government has announced its plans to extend the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector. Therefore, landlords will need to ensure that their properties are free from serious health and safety hazards and that they meet minimum requirements on heating, facilities, insulation etc. Further information on how this might apply to the private sector can be found here.
Pets must be considered
As part of the new act, the Government is making it easier for tenants to find a rented property that will accept pets. It’s suggested that only 7% of landlords have pet-friendly properties, whilst research from The Deposit Protection Service found that accommodating a pet is the most common reason for tenants to move – with figures showing that 30% of tenants who had moved between October last year to March 2022 had done so to accommodate their pet.
The new measures mean that tenants will be able to request a pet and landlords will only be able to refuse if they have a strong, valid reason. If a landlord does refuse, the tenant will be able to challenge this. However, landlords will be able to stipulate that tenants must have insurance for any pet-related property damage.
Blanket bans on families with children or those receiving benefits will not be permitted
To protect vulnerable tenants, blanket bans on families with children or those on benefits will be illegal. To enforce this, it’s suggested that the Government will provide support for both landlords and tenants in terms of raising awareness of the local services that are available, working with insurance providers and reviewing how information on welfare support can be improved.
Better support for landlords
There are several measures that the Government is aiming to put in place to provide better support for landlords. One of the measures includes creating a Private Renters’ Ombudsman – the aim of which is to efficiently and quickly settle any disputes between landlords and tenants without it escalating to court. It is likely that landlord membership to this will be mandatory. There are also plans to provide a new property portal where landlords can find information relating to their obligations and responsibilities.
It’s also worth mentioning here that support will also be in place for landlords who wish to sell their property or need to gain possession of it from anti-social tenants.
The measures outlined above give a general overview of key changes that are expected to be announced as part of the Renters Reform Act. For more information and for the full details relating to this act, please visit the Government’s press release and policy paper.
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