The Renters Reform Bill has passed its Second Reading in Parliament, meaning that it will now go forward to the Committee Stage. This is the third of five stages in the House of Commons that it has to pass through before it is officially passed into law.
If it manages to pass through Parliament, the long-awaited bill has the potential to change many aspects of the rental sector for both tenants and landlords.
What is the Renters Reform Bill?
Developed alongside both landlord and tenants’ groups over five years, the bill is an attempt to make the private rental sector fairer and more stable. The full plans were first published in a white paper in June 2022, with some of the proposed measures having been included in the bill.
While headlines have focused on the benefits it will bring to tenants in the private rental sector, it will also bring welcome changes for landlords. They will be able to more quickly recover their properties from anti-social tenants and those in rental arrears, and more of the court process will be digitised to speed up proceedings.
What changes are proposed in the Renters Reform Bill?
According to gov.uk, the broad range of reforms include:
Abolishing section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions
The most discussed aspect of the reform bill, this will mean landlords can no longer evict tenants at short notice without good reason. It also means a move to a simpler structure where all tenancies are periodic and without a specific end date, providing tenants with more security in challenging unfair conditions.
Strengthening section 8 notices
Alongside the abolition of section 21 is the reinforcement of section 8, which lets landlords end a tenancy early if they have a legal right to do so.
It will now be easier for landlords to repossess their homes because of anti-social behaviour or repeated rent arrears. Landlords will also be able to serve a section 8 notice if they wish to sell a property or move a member of their family into it.
More rights for tenants to own a pet
Tenants will have the right to request a pet in the property, which landlords can’t unreasonable refuse. Landlords will however be able to require that the tenant has pet insurance to cover any potential property damage.
Introducing a new Private Rented Sector Ombudsman
The white paper recommends requiring all private landlords to have membership to this new ombudsman, which would provide fair and impartial resolution to many landlord/tenant issues without them having to go to court.
Creating a Privately Rented Property Portal
This would be for landlords and tenants to help with better understanding around landlord’s legal obligations and regulatory compliance.
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