The Renters Reform Bill was initially submitted in December 2019. Last year’s Queen’s Speech pledged a White Paper in Autumn 2021, despite pandemic delays.
First to “the new year” and then to “the spring,” but we’ve made progress. A Fairer Private Rented Sector was revealed on June 16.
In the notes for this year’s Queen’s Speech, which Prince Charles delivered on Her Majesty’s behalf at the State Opening of Parliament, the Government just stated that the Bill will be introduced during the current parliamentary session, which might be at any time between now and next spring.
What’s the latest on rental reform proposals that guarantee tenants a ‘new deal’?
The White Paper outlined a ’12-point plan of action for the rental industry. It defines Rental Housing Quality Assurance in the Private Rented Sector (PRS). The Government aims to extend the minimum level of social rental properties to privately rented properties. This summer, a consultation is expected to take place.
21% of PRS tenants live in substandard housing, according to government data. The Government argues this new criterion will “reduce £3 billion a year in housing subsidy to landlords renting out substandard properties.”
To implement the Decent Homes Standard, pilot programmes will provide local councils greater power to detect and prosecute unscrupulous landlords. If you self-manage your property and you should be better prepared for future changes. Some of the following points will keep your compliance with the new government changes.
A private rental property portal
This replaces the landlord registration proposal. This new digital Property Portal will assist landlords in understanding and showing regulatory compliance. It should make landlords’ and renters’ rights and duties more clear. The Government suggests that local councils can take enforcement action against private landlords who don’t join the portal, so it’s still a sort of landlord registration.
Tenancy agreements rewritten
The first was predicted, but the other two are new proposals.
Abolishing Section 21
Ending so-called ‘no fault evictions has been discussed for years, and the Government is now eager to move sure landlords can’t remove tenants without a valid cause. They’ve also promised to tighten landlords’ possession rights under section 8, establish harsher grounds for rent arrears, and cut notice periods for anti-social behaviour. Almost every eviction we’ve seen is because the tenant broke the lease. Landlords typically employ a section 21 notice rather than a section 8 because if the tenant refuses to leave, they can acquire possession more swiftly and readily via the ‘expedited procedure’. If a section 8 tenant doesn’t leave, the court hearing procedure is lengthier and more expensive.
Tenancies will be ‘periodic.’
Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) normally have an initially defined duration of 6 or 12 months, during which the landlord and tenant are committed to the tenancy. Tenants can now give a landlord two months’ notice at any time throughout their lease.
Landlords can raise rents once a year.
Tenants can dispute exorbitant rent increases. At Your Move, we’ve always advocated that landlords boost rents each year in accordance with inflation, so rental revenue stays up with the cost of living. This helps you fund upkeep and repairs, so the property may always be lawfully rented. This suggestion shouldn’t bother landlords.
The Government aims to shorten “unacceptable” waits in court proceedings for landlords to reclaim their properties, which is good news for landlords. A new service of PRS ombudsman is introduced and will benefit landlords and tenants in mediation and will save lots of time for courts.
Rental Reform: Landlords can’t prohibit pets without a solid cause
All tenants should be able to seek their landlord for permission to retain a pet, and the landlord can’t reject without a solid cause.
This law applies to landlords and agents using the Government’s standard tenancy agreement. If a tenant wishes to keep a pet, they can make the landlord in writing, and the landlord has 28 days to react. If they can’t offer a valid explanation (e.g., the property isn’t fit for the pet or the lease restricts pets), permission is assumed.