A fairer deal for the Private Rented Sector?

The Government has published a white paper around its plans for making a “fairer private rented sector”. The Government believes that despite the vast majority of landlords being fair and just and offering excellent quality properties, there are too many tenants who live in inadequate rental properties, that section 21 eviction notices are used to remove tenants unfairly and that rents are sometimes raised unfairly. According to the government figures up to 1.6 million people are living in substandard properties. As such they have set out, in this white paper how they intend to tackle these perceived issues.

The measures will form a major part of the renters reform bill which will be laid before parliament later in 2022. In this article we will take a look at the proposals that will be introduced later in the year:

  • Section 21, no fault evictions, are to be banned completely. In the future any landlord wishing to evict a tenant must give a reason for the eviction. New grounds for eviction will be introduced to allow a landlord to sell the property or move into the property. These will not be allowed to be used in the first 6 months of the tenancy, though. There will also be a new mandatory ground for repeated rent arrears, which is good news for landlords.
  • A blanket ban on pets will be banned. A tenant will automatically have the right to ask for pets to be allowed and a landlord should not unreasonably refuse.
  • There will be a ban on a blanket refusal to allow tenants with children or tenants on benefits
  • Introduction of a decent homes standard in the private rented sector. This is already in place in the social rented sector.
  • Move all tenants who would previously have had an AST or an assured tenancy onto a single scheme of periodic tenancies. This will mean that tenants can move out more easily as long as they give the right notice period, which will be set at 2 months.
  • A doubling of notice periods for rent increases and allowing tenants to challenge the increase if they feel it is unreasonable. Rent increases will only be allowed once a year under the new rules and rent review clauses in contracts will be banned
  • A new ombudsman will be introduced which all private landlords must join. This ombudsman will adjudicate any disputes
  • A new property portal is to be introduced and landlords must register their property on the portal and show compliance to all current legislation. The portal will also give landlords all the information they need to ensure they are compliant.

This renters reform bill will be one of the biggest changes to the private rented sector in a long time and when it comes out later in 2022 landlords will need to ensure that they understand the changes and are compliant.