The much-delayed Renters’ Reform Bill will be a government priority in the next parliamentary session after it was included in the Queen’s Speech. Read on to learn what it is and how it might affect private London Landlords and renters.
A Much-Delayed Bill
The Renters’ Reform Bill was first proposed in April 2019. Its purpose was to remove some tenant insecurities experienced while private renting in England. Due to the pandemic, this reform was stalled. But, perhaps renters won’t need to wait much longer. The delayed Renters’ Reform Bill was included in the Queen’s Speech in May 2022 with Prince Charles promising a bill “to strengthen the rights of tenants”. This outlined it as a government priority in the next parliamentary session.
The purpose of the rental reform
Section 21 in current regulation is an aspect expected to be modified. Tenants have a short fixed term that is generally six months or longer. With section 21, landlords can evict tenants after this period and the tenant will have two months to leave the property. The problem with this section is that the landlord does not necessarily need to give a real reason for eviction. The current law also gives landlords the right to increase rent, access the property and remove the tenants they don’t want to live there.
Section 21 demonstrates an imbalance between the rights of private landlords and tenants. Before the pandemic, it is said that eviction often led to homelessness and forced families into temporary accommodation. 63% of evictions are said to have happened because the landlord wanted to sell or use the property.
Section 21 notices have been issued thousands of times since Theresa May’s government pledged to axe them in 2019. Yet, despite an eviction ban protecting tenants during the pandemic, nearly 230,000 private renters have received a no-fault eviction notice since. This is according to a Shelter and YouGov survey released in April 2022 to mark three years since May’s promise.
The reform will also consider the improvements in rental accommodation following the Decent Homes Standard as well as introducing a national landlord register. The government is also considering a portal in which tenants will track landlord performance.
Do these reforms affect London landlords?
These expected reforms do not represent a danger for landlords. On the contrary, The National Residential Landlords Association has spoken in favour of them, as long as there is also a mechanism that lets them reclaim properties when needed.
Ben Bedlechief, executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, expressed that:
“Whilst we condemn any landlord who abuses the system, it is vital to remember that the vast majority of tenants and landlords enjoy a good relationship. It is in that spirit that the government should develop its plans for a system to replace Section 21 in its forthcoming white paper on rental reform.”
After the Bill was included in the Queen’s Speech, a government spokesperson explained:
“We will shortly publish a White Paper which will set out more detail on our proposals for landmark reform in the private rented sector.”
So we can expect steps toward this reform toward the end of 2022.
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