A Fairer Private Rented Sector or so it seems….?

On the 16th June 2022 a white paper was published in the hope of making the law fairer for private landlord and tenants. The 12 point measures laid out within the paper will form part of the Renters Reform Bill and is seen as the biggest shake up in the private rented sector in over 30 years.

So what does this mean for Landlord and Tenants and is it really fair?

The paper introduces a number of changes to rights landlord and tenants, the key changes include:

  1. To protect tenants from inadequate and unsafe housing. Social housing standards will be extended to private rentals with the introduction of the ‘Decent Home Standard’ which will be legally binding.
  2. The abolition of Section 21 no fault evictions, allowing the tenancy to only end if the tenant ends it, or if the landlord has valid grounds for possession.
  3. Removing fixed term tenancies and creating a system of single periodic tenancies.
  4. The introduction of new grounds for possession and expediting grounds to evict tenants for anti-social behaviour in the neighbourhood, those tenants that are persistently in rent arrears and sale of the property.
  5. Abolishing rent review clauses and only allowing landlords to increase rent once a year. In addition, tenants for the first time will be able to challenge excessive rent increase through the First Tier Tribunal.
  6. Abolishing blanket ban on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits.
  7. A right for the tenants to request a pet, which the Landlord cannot unreasonably refuse.
  8. A new ombudsman that all private landlords must join and tenants will be able to seek repayment of rent if the standard of their homes are deemed unacceptable.
  9. Improvement to the current delays at her Majesty Court and Tribunal Services as well as strengthen the use of mediation and alternative dispute resolutions services.
  10. Introduction of a new property portal to make sure tenants are able to access information about their landlord’s compliance and Landlord to understand their responsibilities.
  11. To development a passport led system for deposits making it easier for tenants who struggle to raise a deposit to move around the private rent sector.

The most notable effect of the white paper and the Renters Reform Bill is the proposal to make all tenancies periodic, giving the tenant the right to move whenever they need to by providing two months’ notice and the abolition of Section 21 notices. Currently Landlord are able to serve a Section 21 notice to end the tenancy after the expiry of a fixed term tenancy without given reason. The abolition of the section 21 notice will only leave landlords grounds to evict tenants unless they have a valid reason, and which can be challenged by the tenant. The question therefore remains, will the new mandatory grounds provide Landlords with a quick and cost effective means of regaining possession of their properties.

There are no set time limits for when the bill will come into force. There is no doubt that the Renters Reform Bill and white paper are a much welcome change to the private sector however the wider impact it will have on landlord and tenants remains to be seen.

For advice relating to issues of Landlord and Tenants please contact our Lee Pashen on leep@cplaw.co.uk or 0345 241 3100.

This article is written as a general guide and should not be taken as containing legal advice.

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