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The ‘new deal’ for renters – Renters Reform Bill

Big changes are afoot in the private rental market with the Government’s announcement, in the Queen’s Speech, of the Renters Reform Bill. The announcement re-confirms the ambition first announced in 2019 to abolish ‘no-fault’- evictions and, generally, to raise standards and shift the balance in the rental market on the back of the Government’s ‘Levelling Up’ agenda (the Bill is expected to have a bigger impact in the North).

What are the proposed key features of the Bill?

The Government has announced that key features of the Bill are likely to be:

  • Abolishment of ‘no fault’ evictions by repealing section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.
  • Strengthening some fault-based grounds for possession in cases involving anti-social behaviour and rent arrears.
  • Introduction of a Private Renters’ Ombudsman to provide tenants with redress and help resolve disputes between landlord and tenant without recourse to Court.
  • Introduction of a property portal to ‘help landlords understand their obligations’ and providing a source for information about properties to tenants.
  • Application of the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector (it currently only applies to the social sector).

Whilst the above features are proposals and may be subject to change, they will see landlord’s being held more accountable for the standard of homes they provide but with stronger grounds to gain possession from tenants who persistently fail to pay rent or engage in anti-social behaviour. On the other hand, tenants will be afforded the benefit of firmer security of tenure and with clearer courses of redress.

Timescales

At the moment, the proposals remain legislative intent, with a White Paper promised in due course (hopefully by the July recess). The White Paper will set out more detailed proposals for consultation and it is likely that a draft Bill will be published after that. There is no timetable for the introduction of the Bill. We will be providing more details as the process runs its course and will be able to advise landlords and agents as things develop further.

For the meantime, tenants will eagerly await the introduction of the Bill. Landlords best watch this space…

If you require assistance with possession of a residential property, please contact a member of our specialist Property Disputes team via email or call 0113 207 000.

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Clare Castillo

Chartered Legal Executive
Property Disputes
CCastillo@LawBlacks.com
0113 322 1929