A Guide to the Renters Reform Bill

The Renters Reform was recently published by Housing Secretary Michael Gove and is making its way through Parliament. This long-talked about reform to the private rented sector includes a number of changes and has sparked debate across the industry.

It is not clear when this will take effect as the bill is at a very early stage and has not been written into law yet. But here’s a guide on some of the most prominent reforms within the Renters Reform Bill and how it will impact landlords and investors moving forward.

Abolishing Section 21 evictions

The Renters Reform Bill is set to abolish Section 21 evictions and has been the most controversial measure within this package of legislation. This type of eviction notice is currently the easiest and fastest way for landlords to regain possession of their properties if they need to, and they don’t need to provide a reason.

Once Section 21 evictions are abolished, landlords will be expected to serve Section 8 notices to end tenancies. This type of notice requires you to specify the reason you’re seeking possession. Within the bill, Section 8 notices are set to be amended. 

Along with the current grounds for possession, landlords are expected to be able to serve notice under the following circumstances as well (but certain criteria will have to be met for some such as the tenancy needing to be in existence for at least six months):

  • They want to sell the property
  • The plan to move a family member into the property
  • They have received an enforcement notice by the local authority that needs possession to be able to comply
  • The tenant has been in at least two months of arrears at least three times in the past three years

Allowing pets

The Renters Reform Bill is also set to prevent landlords from outright banning pets from their properties. The new legislation will introduce the right for tenants to be able to request pets in their rental homes. 

Landlords will also be required to respond to pet requests within a specific amount of time. This will typically need to be done within 42 days, unless you need additional information or need to speak to the freeholder of the property.

This new legislation would mean that landlords will not be able to unreasonably refuse a pet request, so you should start considering whether it would be reasonable or not to allow a pet in your rental properties.

Other policies impacting landlords

A new ombudsman is set to be introduced that will help settle disputes between tenants and landlords. While there are a number of ombudsman services already, this one will deal specifically with disputes, and landlords will be required to join. The aim of this is to improve overall standards in the industry and eliminate criminal landlords.

There will also be stricter rules on landlords imposing blanket bans on people with children and people on benefits. This is aimed to combat discrimination in the industry.

With a number of changes looming for the private rented sector, it’s important for landlords and investors to be aware of these and how they will impact their properties. While there are some major changes afoot in the industry, property investment prospects remain strong in the UK. And some of the legislation could even be beneficial for responsible landlords.

To keep up with the Renters Reform Bill’s progress through the House of Commons and Lords, check out the UK Parliament website. It will be key to understand the final details that end up being written into law.

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