Landlords are set to be banned from evicting renters without a reason as part of a package of measures to make the private rental sector fairer.
The Renters Reform Bill, which was included in the Queen’s Speech, will abolish so-called ‘no fault’ section 21 evictions in England, under which landlords can force renters to leave their properties even if they have done nothing wrong.
Local councils are also set to be given more effective tools to enable them to crack down on rogue landlords, as part of a campaign to halve the number of non-decent rental homes by 2030.
In addition, a new property portal will be introduced to give renters performance information on their landlord to help hold landlords to account.
The government is also pressing ahead with moves to improve living conditions for people who live in social housing.
The Social Housing Regeneration Bill will introduce new Tenant Satisfaction Measures to help people see how their landlord is performing.
It will also ensure the Regulator of Social Housing is able to inspect properties and act as a watchdog on standards.
Why is this happening?
The government made a manifesto commitment to abolish no fault evictions.
It is now acting on this pledge by including the Renters Reform Bill in the Queen’s Speech, which means it will be part of the government’s legislative programme for the new session of Parliament.
Alongside greater protection for renters, the bill also introduces a stronger legal framework for landlords to help them regain their properties if renters are repeatedly in rent arrears, while notice periods will also be reduced for cases of anti-social behaviour.
Who will it affect?
The bill is good news for the 4.4 million households in England who currently rent their home in the private sector.
Not only will renters have greater security once no fault evictions are banned, but the bill will also empower them to challenge unfair rent increases and other poor practices by landlords without the fear of being kicked out of their home in retaliation.
Research in 2019/20 found that 22% of renters had not ended their last tenancy by choice, forcing them to spend an average of £1,400 in moving costs.
Meanwhile, applying the legally binding ‘Decent Homes Standard’ to the private rented sector for the first time will ensure renters have access to safer, better quality homes, as one in five private rented homes currently falls short of this standard.
Measures to provide a more effective legal framework and stable market for landlords should also benefit renters, as it should encourage existing landlords to remain in the sector and new ones to enter it.
As a result, the supply of private rental homes should increase, offering more choice to renters and helping to relieve some of the upward pressure on rents.
The introduction of a new Ombudsman for private landlords will also enable disputes to be resolved without having to go to court, which is both expensive and slow.
Residents to be more involved in local developments
A third bill included in the Queen’s Speech that will impact the housing market is the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which includes measures to reform the planning system to give residents more involvement in local development.
The bill aims to simplify and standardise the planning process, so that local plans can be produced more quickly and will be easier for communities to influence.
The move is expected to help ensure new developments are attractive and environmentally friendly, as well as including affordable housing.
It will also see the introduction of a new levy on developments, which will be set locally and used to pay for the infrastructure that communities need, such as housing, schools, GPs and new roads.