The government announce its new Rental Reform Bill for England, which aims to protect tenants, and ensure all private renters are able to access safe and secure living accommodation.
Under the bill, Section 21 evictions – also known as no-fault evictions – will become illegal in England, and landlords will need to provide a reason for reclaiming the property. Section 21 evictions are already illegal in Scotland, while Wales and Northern Ireland are looking to extend no-fault-eviction notice periods.
It will be illegal for landlords to impose blanket bans on tenants who are in receipt of benefits, or families with children. It will also be easier for tenants to share their homes with much-loved pets, with all tenants having the right to request a pet in their house. Landlords must consider these requests, and cannot unreasonably refuse.
The measures will not become law until they’ve been introduced and passed through Parliament, which could take several years.
Why is the bill being introduced?
Though the majority of tenants enjoy living in safe rentals that provide them with a secure home environment, this bill aims to protect tenants who currently live in unfit homes.
It will also aim to standardise rental conditions, to ensure that tenants all have access to safe and secure homes, that meet certain conditions.
How will the bill help renters?
Currently, Section 21 evictions result in tenants needing to find a new home, often at short notice, which can mean high moving costs, and unnecessary upheaval.
The Decent Homes Standard will now be enforced in the private rental market, which means that homes must meet certain health and safety standards, with facilities kept in a good, useable condition.
The bill will also make it easier for tenants to challenge things like unjustified rent increases, and obtain refunds for poor quality living accommodation.
These reforms are designed to ease the cost-of-living pressures families are facing, and improve conditions for the entire rental sector.
How will the bill affect landlords?
The majority of landlords are responsible, and provide safe and secure accommodation for their tenants.
However, for those that do not, increased penalties will be put in place, and councils will have more powers to challenge landlords who do not meet their obligations.
And in cases where a landlord finds themselves with an antisocial tenant, the bill will make it easier for landlords to claim back their property.
A new Ombudsman and property portal for the rental market
The Private Renters’ Ombudsman will also be introduced as part of the bill, which will aim to settle disputes between landlords and renters quickly, and at a low cost.
A new online property portal will also be accessible by both landlords and tenants, which helps both parties understand their rights and responsibilities when they’re either renting out a home, or a tenant living in a rented home.