parliament

17 May 23

Government to introduce landmark reforms today to deliver fairer Private Rented Sector for tenants and landlords, who will be able to recover their properties more easily from anti-social tenants.

No fault evictions will be abolished and tenants will allowed to have pets with a new Ombudsman appointed to provide quick resolutions to disputes under plans to be unveiled in the long awaited Renters’ Reform Bill to be introduced later today.

The Bill will crystallise plans to abolish section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and help renters challenge poor landlords without fear of losing their home.

In 2019 the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government consulted on proposals to end ‘no-fault’ evictions by repealing section 21 of the Housing Act 1988; extend the grounds for possession under section 8; remove landlords’ ability to grant new assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) and improve the processing of repossession orders.

LEGAL RIGHT

In the Renter’s Reform Bill to be introduced to parliament later today tenants will now be given the legal right to request a pet in their home and the Decent Homes Standard will also be applied to the private rented sector.

It will also be illegal for landlords and agents to have blanket bans on renting to tenants on benefits or with children and more help will also be given to councils to target criminal landlords.

But the Bill wills also make it easier for landlords to recover properties when they need to – so they can sell their property if they want to, move in a close family member or when tenants stop paying rent.

SLASHED

Notice periods will be slashed where tenants have been irresponsible and new tenancy systems introduced alongside a reformed digitised courts process.

A new Ombudsman will help settle disputes while a new digital Property Portal will provide landlords and tenants with key information.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove says: “Too many renters are living in damp, unsafe, cold homes, powerless to put things right, and with the threat of sudden eviction hanging over them.

“Our new laws introduced to Parliament today will support the vast majority of responsible landlords who provide quality homes to their tenants, while delivering our manifesto commitment to abolish Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions.”

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, says: “Responsible landlords need to be confident that when Section 21 ends, where they have a legitimate reason, they will be able to repossess their properties as quickly as possible. Without this assurance, the Bill will only exacerbate the rental housing supply crisis many tenants now face.

The Government must recognise the serious concerns of landlords letting to students about open ended tenancies.”

“The Government must recognise the serious concerns of landlords letting to students about open ended tenancies. Without the ability to plan around the academic year, students will have no certainty that properties will be available to rent when they need them.”

Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns, Propertymark, adds: “The Bill will bring much needed clarity to letting agents, their landlords and tenants. Propertymark will support the UK Government to ensure the specific details work in practice.

“It is important implementation is well planned and managed as these reforms are significant for the sector.”

Dan Wilson Craw, Acting Director, Generation Rent, says: “The Renters’ Reform Bill is a huge opportunity to improve the lives of the 11 million people who now rent from private landlords in England. Arbitrary Section 21 evictions make it impossible for tenants to put down roots and report problems about their home with confidence.”

All private landlords will be required to join the Ombudsman.”

Martin Lewis, TV pundit and founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, says that he was pleased to see a statutory single private rental Ombudsman in the plans.

“Disputes are often between two individuals – landlord and tenant – rather than between companies, so it can be very personal and difficult to sort.”

He adds: “Crucially, it won’t be voluntary, all private landlords will be required to join the Ombudsman, and it will have legal authority to compel apologies, take remedial action and pay compensation.”

SECURE

And Polly Neate, Chief Executive of homelessness charity Shelter, believes that the legislation will mean people renting in England will be ‘one step closer to fairer, more secure housing’.

She says: “The Renters’ Reform Bill is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to finally fix private renting. A strong bill would be a gamechanger, meaning tenants can live without fear their homes could make them sick, families feel able to put down roots in their communities, and worries about being unfairly evicted are a thing of the past.

The Renters’ Reform Bill must be as strong as possible with every loophole closed.”

“For far too long Shelter’s emergency advisers have helped renters facing anguish and uncertainty, paying sky-high rents in return for poor living conditions, with no protection or security if they complain.

“The Renters’ Reform Bill must truly deliver change for renters when it becomes law, and it should be as strong as possible with every loophole closed, so that no renter can be unfairly evicted.

“The government must keep renters at the forefront to make sure this bill has the teeth needed for real change.”

CATS & DOGS

Michael Webb, Head of Policy & Public Affairs, Battersea Cats & Dogs Home, says: “Not only will this Bill bring us one step closer to significantly reducing the number of dogs and cats we see being needlessly separated from their owners, it will also open up the many joys of pet ownership to millions of renters in the future.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Housing department, tenants and landlords to help ensure a fairer rental sector for pets and people alike.”

And Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of Dogs Trust, says: “For too long, people living in rented accommodation have not able to enjoy the benefits and companionship of a pet just because of the type of housing they live in.

“We’re receiving hundreds of calls each week from desperate owners forced to rehome their dogs due to a lack of pet friendly accommodation. This is great news for both owners and for the animal welfare sector alike.”

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