Changes for Landlords: Renters Reform Bill
Last week the government published the renters reform bill, which is a list that sets out to protect tenants further from wrongful evictions and negligent landlords. The changes for landlords include the abolition of the section 21 eviction notice, which is currently the most used form of eviction for landlords.
This means landlords will no longer be able to issue a no-fault no-reason eviction to tenants in situ. This change means landlords will need to give a valid reason for an eviction if they wish for the tenants to vacate.
Whilst landlords will still be able to evict as they would like their property back, whether it is to sell it, for others to move in, they will need to evidence their reasoning. Previously, with a section 21, you didn’t need to provide a reason and could give a tenant notice with no reason or explanation.
The section 8 notice still stands and has not changed, landlords can still issue a section 8 notice to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent.
Why was the renters reform bill required?
Recent statistics show that 1 in 5 rented homes are below the decency standard and 1 in 8 renters have hazards in their property, such as mould. These changes also plan to mitigate that by ensuring all landlords are registered with a trading or ombudsman body, this way renters have a higher source to complain to if there are issues with the property.
Another change for landlords include making it more difficult to increase the rent. Renters will now be able to take their landlord to a tribunal over rental increases, to ensure they are fair. Landlords will need to register with a portal to ensure their properties are compliant and renters will be able to check this.
The tribunal will base the rent on local market values, so although this wont help renters in times where rents are increasing rapidly in their area across the board, it will prevent unnecessarily large increases causing difficulty for tenants.
Renters Reform Bill: Is it UK Wide?
England is a step behind the rest of the UK when it comes to regulations for landlords. In Scotland for example, landlords have had to register since 2006, in England we only licence those renting Houses of Multiple Occupation. Scotland has also had the no-fault eviction, indefinite tenancy arrangement since 2017. Wales and Northern Ireland also have a process to check their landlords registration.
The English housing market has also had difficulty with discrimination over the years. It is usual practice for landlords to reject tenants due to them being in receipt of housing benefits, having pets and in some cases – even children. It is also notoriously difficult for those who are self employed or on flexible hours to provide proof of income and they are therefore, rejected to housing. This is set to be stamped out in a bid to change the sector and make it more inclusive and easier to find housing.
The response to the changes for landlords:
These changes have been asked for by campaigners for years and set out to improve the quality of rented homes as well as make life easier to renters. With a shortage of social housing and the unaffordability of home ownership in the current day, it feels more important than ever to ensure the private rental market is easy to navigate, affordable and well regulated. This will be a welcome change for tenants.
However, on the opposing side, campaigners are warning the changes for landlords may well cause more difficulty in the housing market. With less autonomy over their properties, in a time where buy to let landlords are already taxed high with big fees to pay, some are worried this will cause landlords to sell up and give up. This may well cause difficulty for generation rent, as a lack of rental properties will lead to higher demand for those that are available, pushing the prices up further.
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