The Renters Reform Bill: June 2023 Update
The Renters Reform Bill is a significant piece of legislation currently making its way through Parliament. The Bill intends to make sweeping reforms to the private rental sector, with an aim to make renting fairer for tenants.
While the Bill is still able to be amended, and even scrapped, it is estimated that the new Bill will become law in 2024. Landlords have a limited period in which to become aware of the potential changes so they can make informed commercial decisions and ensure that they are compliant when the new system comes into place.
One of the most significant changes will be the abolition of Section 21 evictions. Section 21 notices currently allow Landlords to evict tenants without having to give any specific reason, known as ‘no fault evictions’. Under the new Bill, Landlords will need to provide a specific reason as to why they require possession of the property. These reasons will build upon the current Section 8, ‘at fault’, evictions, with new reasoning being added and some current reasoning being expanded.
Another key change will be the introduction of the new ombudsman and landlord register for private Landlords. Signing up to this process will be mandatory and will require a fee, used to fund the ombudsman. The ombudsman will be able to investigate complaints from tenants about their landlords and will have the power to make compensation awards. The purpose of the ombudsman is to give tenants a more effective way to challenge unfair treatment from their landlord.
There will also be significant changes in regard to rent increases designed to give tenants more protection. The Bill proposes that any increase in rent will be limited to once a year. In addition, the notice period for rent increases will be increased from one to two months.
There is also a proposal that with any rent increase the Landlord will need to provide evidence to justify this rent increase. It is anticipated that this evidence will need to provide information about the market rent for similar properties in the area.
Finally, Landlords will no longer be able to unreasonably deny a request from a tenant for a pet to be in the property. Landlords may only refuse if they have a good reason, such as the property being too small, or the pet too dangerous. Alongside this, specific insurance will need to be taken out to protect the property from pet damage. It is still not clear if it will be the tenant or the landlord who will be responsible for obtaining this insurance.
It is important to seek legal advice regarding any questions you may have about the Renters Reform Bill before it enters law. Our team of specialist lawyers are on hand to answer any questions you may have.