The Renters Reform Bill was announced on 16th of June and it promises a generational change that will create a farer, safer position between Landlords and an estimated 4.4 million private rented Tenants. The Government announced the Renters Reform Bill in the Queen’s Speech December 2019 and aims to turn the bill into law by 2022. Now that we are deep into 2022 itself – let’s explore what this may mean, for you.
A MUCH NEEDED CHANGE:
The proposed changes may begin by abolishing Section 21 that previously allowed Landlords to evict tenants in the following 2 circumstances:
- After a fixed term tenancy ends – if there’s a written contract.
- During a tenancy with no fixed end date – known as a ‘Periodic’ tenancy.
In other words, nowadays Landlords are able to gain possession of their properties, without giving a reason. This will no longer be possible if the Bill passes into law. According to the statistics published on the Government website: “More than a fifth of private renters who moved in 2019 and 2020 did not end their tenancy by choice, including 8% who were asked to leave by their landlord”
Instead Landlords will only be able to evict Tenants under certain circumstances and in turn Tenants will have to provide 2 months’ notice when leaving a tenancy. This will help Landlords to recoup any costs spent on finding a new tenant and shorten the gap between rental agreements.
OTHER IMPORTANT UPDATES:
- The White Paper includes a review of ‘’arbitrary’’ rent clauses and wishes to prevent Landlords from increasing the rent unfairly or lock the tenants into an automatic rent increase, that falls outside of the allowable annual increase. Instead, the rent will only be able to be increased once a year and a 2 months’ notice will be required.
- A Private Renters Ombudsman will be appointed to settle any disputes between the home owners and renters; this will make the process much easier and ensure a cost effective way to reach an agreement without going to court.
- What about pets? Well, the law is also looking into helping those ones who currently own a pet or wish to have one. It has been very difficult to take a pet with you in the past, and it was even more difficult to move while having one. If the bill is approved, Landlords cannot unreasonably refuse anyone that wishes to host a pet. However, you will still need to ask for the landlord’s permission. This is required if you already rent a property or want to move into a new one. Even if the Landlords cannot outright refuse you a pet, you could be asked to obtain pet insurance in order to account for any potential damages. Although the Government will “legislate to ensure landlords do not unreasonably withhold their consent”, the matter is far from settled. We do not yet know how this will be enforced and details are yet to be clarified.
- A new Property Portal will be introduced that aims to assist 3 main directly interested parties.
- Tenants, Landlords and local councils will have better access to information and will be able to understand their responsibilities.