Update on the Renters Reform Bill
5th February 2024
After years in the making, it looks like the Renters Reform Bill – the biggest shake-up of the private rental sector in decades – will become a reality in 2024.
So, how much do you know about this wide-reaching set of proposals, and are you ready for them?
Perhaps you’ve read a few articles about the bill but have put off getting to grips with the details (after all, politicians put forward all sorts of proposals, many of which never happen).
Or maybe you’ve taken the ostrich approach, hoping it will go away.
Whatever your response thus far and whatever you think of the bill’s contents, now’s the time to start preparing for its introduction.
The bill had its first and second reading in the House of Commons last year. It will be scrutinised further by MPs and the House of Lords this year and is then expected to receive royal assent.
Insiders suggest the bill could come into effect in October; however, with a general election also on the cards (at some point in 2024), nothing is set in stone. Initially, the new legislation will only affect new tenancies.
Main components of the Renters Reform Bill
The bill is still subject to amendment, but here’s a general overview. The bill will:
- Abolish fixed-term tenancies.
- Scrap Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions.
- Bolster Section 8, beefing up the existing grounds under which landlords can regain possession and adding new grounds for possession. Landlords will have grounds to regain possession if they wish to sell up, move into the property or move in close family. They can also evict on the grounds of anti-social behaviour or ‘when tenants wilfully do not pay rent’.
- Allow landlords to increase rents once a year in line with market rates.
- Introduce a Private Rented Sector Ombudsman.
- Ban landlords from discriminating against people on benefits or who have children.
- Give tenants the right to request to have a pet in the property. Landlords cannot ‘unreasonably refuse’ the request, but they can insist a tenant has pet insurance to cover potential damage.
The bill undoubtedly represents change. But while some systems and processes will need updating to ensure compliance, proactive and responsible landlords shouldn’t panic.
Conducting thorough reference checks and regular inspections and having a proactive maintenance schedule and good rapport with tenants, remains the best protection.
Here at On The Move – Lettings & Investments, we’re available to discuss the bill in more detail with landlords interested to know more.
We’ve already had several landlords get in touch, keen to find out more about how the expanded Section 8 rules will work in practice given the abolition of Section 21.
Contact us to discuss the changes in relation to your specific circumstances.
And we’ll be closely following the bill’s progress through Parliament, so stay tuned for further updates.
Contact us here at On The Move to find out more about the Renters Reform Bill.