17 May 2023

Landlords beware – change is coming!

Siobahn Sylvester Senior Associate
Stressed woman packing moving boxes

Currently, in England, landlords are able to gain possession of their properties by way of serving a two month, “no-fault” section 21 notice (providing that they have adhered to certain criteria set out by the Housing Deregulation Act 2015).

Even if the tenant is complying with their obligations under the tenancy, a landlord can currently evict them without having to give justification.

However, the long-anticipated Renters’ (Reform) Bill 2023 published today delivers the government’s 2019 manifesto commitment to abolish no-fault evictions. It aims to increase the protection for tenants in England and empower renters to challenge poor landlords, without fear of losing their homes.

The landlord reforms intend to allow tenants to benefit from safer, fairer, and higher quality homes. The proposed reforms promise to:

  • Put an end to no-fault evictions

  • Limit rent increases to once a year, with a minimum requirement of two-months' notice

  • Require landlords to consider all requests to keep pets, which cannot be unreasonably refused

  • Impose minimum housing standards for private sector - meaning accommodation must be free from health and safety hazards, be well-maintained, and conform to the Decent Homes Standard set to be implemented

  • Outlaw blanket bans on benefit claimants or people with children, ensuring no family is unjustly discriminated against when looking for somewhere to live

  • Implement an online property portal where landlords must demonstrate compliance with legal requirements

  • Strengthen the council enforcement powers and reporting obligations to help target criminal landlords  

  • Create a new Private Renters’ Ombudsman covering all private landlords, with the power to enforce landlord apologies and compensation of up to £25,000

It is not all bad news for landlords, however. The government also intends to protect landlords by making it easier to evict tenants when they need to, through the strengthening and broadening of grounds under the section 8 possession procedure. Examples include if they want to sell a property, move in a close family member, or if they have irresponsible tenants who are in breach of their obligations, for example, by antisocial behaviour or no payment of rent. The disruptive and harmful activities that can lead to eviction will be broader, meaning it will be easier and quicker to evict a tenant acting antisocially as a result of reduced notice periods. 

It is expected that once the Renters' Reform Bill becomes an act of parliament, six months' notice will be given of an initial implementation date. From then, all new tenancies that qualify will be under the new rules.

The plans will impact 11 million tenants and two million landlords in England, according to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities. However, the impact that this bill will have on the wider economy is yet to be seen. It is plausible that, with tighter restrictions being imposed upon landlords, the appetite to enter or indeed remain in the private renting sector may reduce. This could cause a flood of properties to become available on the purchase market. In turn, this may cause a significant reduction in house prices, given the potential “over swelling” of the market that may occur as the deadline for evicting tenants on the no-fault basis looms.

Here at Wilkin Chapman, we have a dedicated landlord services team who can assist with disputes.  Whether you are a landlord looking to evict your tenant or you are the tenant that has been treated unfairly by your landlord, please get in touch and a member of our team will contact you.  

Need help?

Contact Siobahn to discuss this further.

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