Last year, we covered the Government white paper outlining the long-planned reforms to the private rental sector. In May 2023, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities formally introduced the Renters (Reform) Bill (the “Bill”) to the House of Commons.
The Bill makes sweeping changes to longstanding laws concerning rented homes. The proposals under the Bill are wide in scope; some of the key changes are:
End of Section 21 Notices
One of the most noteworthy changes is the abolishment of “no fault” notices – the section 21 notice. Landlords will now only be able to evict tenants by serving a section 8 notice and specifying a ground for eviction.
End of fixed-term tenancies
Most tenancies are granted for a fixed-term before turning periodic (e.g. a fixed term of one year, before renewing automatically from month to month). The Bill would remove fixed-term tenancies altogether and all new tenancies would be periodic from the beginning.
Tenants will have a legal right to request permission to keep a pet in the property. Landlords will not be able to unreasonably refuse a request.
Notification of rent increases
Rent increases would be limited to once per year. Landlords would also need to give two months’ notice instead of the current requirement of one month.
Introduction of a new Ombudsman
The Government has proposed for a new Private Rented Sector Ombudsman. The objectives of which are to “provide fair, impartial, and binding resolution to many issues and prove quicker, cheaper, and less adversarial than the court system”.
The Government has stated that the aim of the Bill is to “bring a better deal for renters”. In doing so, Landlord obligations will change immensely under the current proposals. However, the Government has also proposed the creation of a Private Rented Property Portal to help Landlords understand their legal obligations and demonstrate compliance. However, there will be a question over the effectiveness of this new system.
The Renters (Reform) Bill is currently in its second reading in the House of Commons. We will continue to keep you updated on its progress. The Renters (Reform) Bill will likely reach royal assent by the summer of 2024. For now, Landlords and Tenants should obtain independent legal advice on the possible implications of the Renters (Reform) Bill and obtain understanding of their new rights and obligations.
Pinney Talfourd are experts in commercial and residential property litigation and can advise you on changes to the law so you are given up to date advice.
The above is meant to be only advice and is correct as of the time of posting. This article was written by Joshua De Luna, Solicitor in the Property Litigation team at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of August 2023.