Originally announced in 2019 the ‘Renters (Reform) Bill 2023 has finally been introduced in Parliament on 17th May. At present the Bill is just draft legislation and must go through several readings in the House of Commons and House of Lords when the contents of the Bill will be discussed and potentially amended before receiving royal assent and finally become Law. This process is going to take time and is anticipated to come in to force in early 2024 when there is likely to be a period of implementation.
At present some of the proposals are:
Removing Section 21 notices
Section 21 notices enable private landlords to repossess their properties from assured shorthold tenancy tenants without grounds for possession. While the Bill proposes the removal of Section 21 notices, importantly, it states that landlords will still be able to regain possession where there are serious or repeat rent arrears, serious anti-social behaviour or the landlord wishes to sell or move back into the property (including close relatives).
Changes to Section 8 notices
Currently a Section 8 notice tends to be used when there are rent arrears, there are other grounds, some mandatory some discretionary. Under the Bill these grounds are expected to be extended, some proposed amendments to the grounds are:
• The landlord wants the property back for their own use – extended to allow use by landlords wider family (parent, grandparent, sibling, child, grandchild etc)
• Further protection for landlords looking to sell, as long as the sale is genuine
• The rent arrears ground will be extended to allow for historic rent arrears issues over a period of up to 3 years to be used.
• Grounds for Anti-social behaviour are also being looked at with the list of disruptive and harmful activities being widened
Introduction of periodic tenancies instead of fixed terms
Tenancies will be changed to a simpler structure, where they will run on a ‘rolling’ basis until notice is served. Landlords will be able to increase rents, in line with the market price, on an annual basis by serving a Section 13 notice.
Introduction of a new Ombudsman for private landlords and a Property Portal
Landlords may be required to join an impartial redress system, for situations where tenant complaints cannot be resolved directly. A Property Portal is also being proposed, to aid landlords in demonstrating compliance with property safety standards.
Allow tenants to request a pet
Landlords will be required to consider requests for pets and permit them unless there is justification to decline. However, landlords can also ask tenants to take out pet insurance to protect the property against damage.
What happens now?
At the moment there is nothing to be done other than keep track of how the proposals in the Bill are being altered as they are discussed in The House of Commons and The House of Lords and RIB will be doing that for you.
We will be monitoring the news and our industry portals closely and we will keep you up dated as and when changes are agreed and we will, as always, ensure that your tenancies remain compliant.