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The Renters Reform Bill, introduced by the Department for Levelling Up, is set to be introduced before the end of this parliamentary session (ending in May 2023). It is anticipated to shake up the rental market and is mainly aimed at regulating landlords and granting further safeguards to tenants.

Some of the key proposals of the Bill are outlined below.

Removal of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions

At present, a Section 21 notice can be served in rolling periodic tenancies or fixed term tenancies to enable landlords to evict without providing reason in advance. The Bill is set to abolish ‘no fault’ evictions.

Section 8 notice of intention to issue possession proceedings

The Bill is set to introduce a new mandatory ground for an eviction order where a tenant has been in arrears for at least two months on three occasions within the previous three years. It is also proposed that there be a ground for landlords wishing to sell or move themselves into their rental property.

Rent increases

Rent increases will be limited to once per year with a minimum notice period of 2 months. Where there are unjustified rent increases, tenants will be able to challenge this through the First Tier Tribunal.

Decent Homes Standard (DHS)

‘Decent Homes Standard’ is defined as ‘free from the most serious health and safety hazards’, and currently applies to social housing only. The Bill proposes to extend this to the private sector.

Other proposals arising from the Bill are as follows:-

  • Introduce a private rented ombudsman to assist with enforcing renter’s rights;
  • Make it illegal for landlords and agents to refuse to rent properties to people who receive benefits;
  • Give local authorities more power to enforce and protect renters’ rights;
  • Civil Penalty Notices to be issued by local authorities to those who illegally evict or harass tenants;
  • Rent Repayment Orders for breach of Decent Homes Standards;
  • Tenant compensation through the Courts for breaches of the new regulations;
  • Mandatory entries on the ‘Rogue Landlord Database'.

A key factor of the Bill centres around improvements to housing conditions.Pertinently, since the announcement of this Bill, a variety of reports highlighting exceptionally poor home conditions for tenants in both public and private rental properties have been widely publicised.

The Renters Reform Bill is therefore likely to overhaul the private renters’ market. Once introduced, it is essential that landlords familiarise themselves with the changes to avoid being in breach of the new regulations, which could ultimately result in compensation being paid to tenants as well as enforcement action by Local Authorities.

The Renters Reform Bill is not yet finalised and therefore may be subject to changes before becoming UK law.


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