Renters (Reform) Bill 2023: Everything You Need to Know
Estimated reading time 9 minutes
The government recently released information on proposals in the Renters (Reform) Bill. The bill plans to abolish section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and make the tenancy structure more secure and streamlined.
Below, Gaffsy has put together everything you need to know about the Renters (Reform) Bill.
Key Points of the Renters (Reform) Bill
- Abolish Section 21 “no-fault” evictions.
- Section 8 will be amended to make it easier to end a tenancy agreement if they have a legal reason to do so for anti-social behaviour and repeatedly missing rent payments. This makes eviction mandatory where a tenant has been in at least two months’ rent arrears three times within the previous three years, regardless of the arrears balance at hearing. See Table 1
- Plans to end rent review clauses, rents can only be increased once a year – and landlords must give two-months notice. Landlords will be able to increase rents to market price for their properties they would do so by serving a completed form on GOV.UK website to the tenant. Tenants will be able to dispute rent increases that they think are above the market value by referring a case to the First-tier Tribunal. This must be before the starting date of the proposed new rent and tenants should notify their landlord that they are doing so
- All tenants who would previously have had an Assured Tenancy or Assured Shorthold Tenancy would be moved onto a single system of periodic tenancies. Tenants would then need to provide two months’ notice when leaving a tenancy. Landlords would only be able to evict a tenant in reasonable circumstances, which will be defined in law. Landlords won’t be able to use grounds for moving in, selling or redevelopment for the first six months of the tenancy, meaning responsible renters will enjoy enhanced security after moving into a property.
- Landlords must consider all requests to keep pets and can’t unreasonably refuse them. To support this, a tenant must provide in writing confirmation that they have acquired insurance for their pet, or that they are willing to pay the landlord reasonable costs to cover the landlord’s insurance in case of pet damage. A landlord must accept or refuse consent by the 42nd day after the date of the request. This can be extended by a week if a landlord asks for further information.
- Minimum housing standards for private sector, meaning accommodation must be free from health and safety hazards and be well-maintained.
- The government indicated it has plans to bring forward legislation outlawing blanket bans on benefit claimants or people with children. However, this does not form part of the proposed Renters’ Reform Bill at this stage.
- Introduce a new Private Rented Sector Ombudsman, which will provide fair, impartial, and binding resolution to many issues and with the power to enforce landlord apologies and compensation of up to £25,000. It will be mandatory for landlords to join a scheme, and they will not be able to let out or advertise a property if they are not part of one.
- Create an online Privately Rented Property Portal, to help landlords understand their legal requirements and demonstrate compliance. It will also provide better information to help tenants when entering tenancy agreements.
- Provide stronger protections against backdoor eviction by ensuring tenants are able to appeal excessively above-market rents which are purely designed to force them out.
How will the reformed grounds for possession change?
The reformed grounds of possession will be as set out in the table below. The table, along with more information, can be found on the government’s tenancy reform: Renters (Reform) Bill page.
|Ground||Explanation||Notice period||Mandatory or discretionary|
|Moving in||The landlord or their close family member wishes to move into the property.||2 months||Mandatory|
|Selling||The landlord wishes to sell the property.||2 months||Mandatory|
|Selling (rent-to-buy)||The landlord is a private registered provider of social housing and there is a rent-to-buy agreement.||2 months||Mandatory|
|Mortgage repossession||The property is subject to a mortgage and the lender exercises a power of sale requiring vacant possession.||2 months||Mandatory|
|Superior lease ending||The landlord’s lease is under a superior tenancy that is terminated by the superior landlord.||2 months||Mandatory|
|Possession by superior landlord||After a superior tenancy ends, the superior landlord becomes the tenant’s direct landlord, and seeks to take possession.||2 months||Mandatory|
|Student accommodation||In the 12 months prior to the start of the tenancy the property has been used to house students. This can be used by educational establishments and PBSA only.||2 weeks||Mandatory|
|Ministers of religion||The property is held for use by a minister of religion to perform the duties of their office and is required for occupation by a minister of religion.||2 months||Mandatory|
|Agricultural workers||The landlord requires possession to house someone who will be employed by them as an agricultural worker.||2 months||Mandatory|
|Employment criteria||The social landlord requires the dwelling to let to someone based on their employment eligibility (e.g., key workers).||2 months||Mandatory|
|Employment by landlord||The dwelling was let as a result of the tenant’s employment by landlord, and the employment has come to an end OR tenancy was not meant to last the duration of the employment and the dwelling is required by new employee.||2 months||Mandatory|
|End of employment related criteria||The social landlord must have granted the tenancy because of the tenant’s employment eligibility (e.g., key workers) and they no longer meet those criteria.||2 months||Mandatory|
|Used for supported accommodation||The provider requires possession from a non-supported accommodation resident to relet as supported accommodation.||4 weeks||Mandatory|
|Supported accommodation (mandatory)||The provider requires possession because support services or funding has ended or fallen away; the provision is no longer meeting the tenant’s needs; the placement was ‘move on’ accommodation.||4 weeks||Mandatory|
|Temporary Accommodation||The landlord is ending a tenancy granted because the household is owed the homelessness duty.||4 weeks||Mandatory|
|Redevelopment||The landlord is seeking possession to redevelop at least 6 months after start of tenancy. Must demonstrate changes cannot be done with the tenant living there.||2 months||Mandatory|
|Enforcement action||The landlord is subject to enforcement action by Local Authority or banning order by First-tier Tribunal and needs to regain possession to become compliant. Refused/Revoked HMO licenses etc.||2 months||Mandatory|
|Death of tenant||The tenancy was passed on by will or intestacy. Possession proceedings must begin no later than 24 months after death.||2 months||Mandatory|
|Severe ASB/Criminal Behaviour||The tenant convicted of a criminal offence, breached an IPNA, breached a criminal behaviour order, or convicted of causing noise nuisance.||Landlords can make a possession claim immediately||Mandatory|
|No right to rent||At least one of the tenants has no right to rent under immigration law.||2 weeks||Mandatory|
|Serious rent arrears||The tenant is at least 2 months in arrears at the time notice is served and the court hearing. Exemption for outstanding benefit payments.||4 weeks||Mandatory|
|Repeated serious arrears||Three separate instances of at least 2 months of arrears over a 3 year period.||4 weeks||Mandatory|
|Suitable alternative accommodation||Suitable alternative accommodation is available for tenant.||2 months||Discretionary|
|Any rent arrears||The tenant is in any amount of arrears when notice is served and on the day of their court hearing.||4 weeks||Discretionary|
|Persistent arrears||The tenant has persistently delayed paying their rent||4 weeks||Discretionary|
|Breach of tenancy||The tenant is guilty of breaching one of the terms of their tenancy agreement.||2 weeks||Discretionary|
|Deterioration of property||The tenant has caused the condition of the property to deteriorate.||2 weeks||Discretionary|
|Anti-social behaviour||The tenant or anyone living in or visiting the property has been guilty of causing nuisance or annoyance to the landlord or anyone living in, visiting or in the locality of the property, or has been convicted of using the premises for illegal/immoral purposes, or has been convicted of an indictable offense in the locality.||Landlords can make a possession claim immediately.||Discretionary|
|Domestic Abuse||Social landlords only. Evict the perpetrator of domestic violence if the partner has left the property.||2 weeks||Discretionary|
|Rioting||The tenant or other adult living at the property has been convicted of an indictable offence which took place at a riot in the UK after 13 May 2014.||2 weeks||Discretionary|
|Deterioration of furniture||The tenant has caused the condition of the furniture to deteriorate.||2 weeks||Discretionary|
|False statement||The tenancy was granted due to false statement.||2 weeks||Discretionary|
|Supported Accommodation (discretionary)||The tenant has unreasonably refused to cooperate with the support service provided.||4 weeks||Discretionary|
When will the tenancy reforms be implemented?
The government will implement the new system in 2 stages.
They will provide at least 6 months notice of the 1st implementation date after which all new tenancies will be periodic and governed by the new rules.
All existing tenancies will transition to a new system on the 2nd implementation date. The government will allow at least 12 months between 1st implementation date and 2nd implementation date.
After this point all tenants will be protected from section 21 eviction and landlords will have access to a full range of strengthened grounds.
The timeframe for the bill becoming law is not clear, however, it is understood that the government would like to get the bill passed before the next general election, likely to be sometime in 2024.
How can Gaffsy help you?
If you are a landlord who has been evaluating the income on your property and now having understood the implications the Renters Reform Bill could have on your portfolio reached the conclusion that you want to sell a buy-to-let property, a flat with tenants in-situ then contact Gaffsy on 0207 459 4546 and we are on hand to provide you with a no-obligation cash offer today.
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