Wondering what the Renters’ Reform Bill means for landlords and tenants? We take a look at how it will impact the rental sector.

Tenants are set to have more security as the Government looks to end no-fault evictions.

The Renters’ Reform Bill, which was included in the December 2019 Queen’s Speech, will mean landlords can no longer evict tenants for no reason.

But landlords will be given more rights to take back possession of their property through the courts when they have a valid reason to do so, with the process made quicker and easier for them.

A new lifetime deposit scheme will also be introduced, under which rental deposits can be transferred between different properties so that tenants do not have to save for a new deposit each time they move home.

Why is this happening?

The bill is part of a range of initiatives by the Government to improve the private rental sector for tenants and give them more stability, particularly for families with children.

Under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, landlords can currently give tenants eight weeks’ notice to vacate their property once the fixed term period of their contract has ended.

The bill also includes measures to improve the standard of rented accommodation, with tenants given a right to redress if their homes are deemed not to be safe or are bad for their health.

Who does it affect?

The bill, which will only cover England, is good news for tenants, as it gives them more security that they will not lose their home at short notice, while it should also help to ensure that all landlords meet high standards.

Letting agents explained that landlords must still have the means to evict tenants who are failing to comply with the terms of their agreement, such as not paying rent or causing a nuisance to neighbours.

David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, called for a new specialist housing tribunal to be created, and for section 8 of the Housing Act, which lists the grounds under which landlords can take back possession of their property, to be reformed.

He said: “Without this, supply will almost certainly fall which will have the consequential effect of raising rents and will further discourage new landlords from investing in the sector.”

What’s the background?

The average person renting in the private sector lives in their home for 4.1 years, according to The English Housing Survey 2017/18, but a government consultation found that 79% of tenants were offered terms of 12 months or less.

A study by housing charity shelter also found that one in five families in private rented accommodation had moved at least three times in the past five years.

The Renters’ Reform Bill comes after the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act in July, which prevents landlords and letting agents from charging fees to tenants to cover the cost of carrying out credit checks and obtaining references. 

Deposits have also been capped at the equivalent of five weeks’ rent.

Top 3 takeaways

  • Tenants are set to have more security as the Government looks to end no-fault evictions

  • Landlords will be given more rights to take back possession of their property through the courts when they have a valid reason to do so

  • A new lifetime deposit scheme will be introduced, under which rental deposits can be moved between different properties 

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