The Government have released their Rental Reform White Paper, which aims to reform the private rented sector, give tenants ‘a better deal’ and ‘level up’ the quality of housing in England.
UPDATE: The Renters' Reform Bill has now been published, with some major implications for landlords, especially relating to eviction. Find out more here.
What does the Rental Reform White Paper include?
The White Paper sets out that:
- Section 21 evictions will be abolished
- The Decent Homes Standard will be applied to the Private Rented Sector
- An Ombudsman will be introduced for the Private Rented Sector
- A Property Portal will be introduced for landlords
- Blanket bans on renting to families with children will be abolished
- All tenants will be given the right to request pets in their residency, which landlords must not unreasonably refuse
Yes. This latest White Paper has outlined that ‘no-fault’ Section 21 Evictions, where the landlord does not have to provide a reason for ending a tenancy, will be abolished.
For landlords, this means they’ll have to rely on Section 8 evictions going forward. There is hope that Section 8 grounds will be amended to make it easier for landlords to rely upon them, however it is unclear at this stage what changes will be made.
What are the grounds for a Section 8 notice?
A Section 8 notice can only be served when a tenant is in breach of the tenancy agreement.
Landlords will have to give a ‘concrete and evidenced reason’ to evict a tenant.
The most common grounds are:
- Rent Arrears
- Failure to pay rent
- Property damage
- Antisocial behaviour
A full list of grounds can be found here.
The Decent Homes Standard sets out that a property must be a ‘safe and decent home’.
To be considered so, a property must meet the certain criteria along with the Home Fitness for Human Habitation Act:
- It meets the statutory minimum standard for housing;
- It is in a ‘reasonable’ state of repair;
- It has ‘reasonably’ modern facilities & services;
- It provides a ‘reasonable’ amount of thermal comfort.
What if my property is considered a non-decent home?
Landlords of property that is considered ‘non-decent’ could face fines and the possibility of not being able to evict their tenant through the S21 Notice route.
The proposed Ombudsman for the Private Rented Sector will be introduced to try and reduce the number of possession cases that go to court.
This will be done by solving and settling landlord & tenant disputes quickly, cheaply and without court involvement.
As part of the White Paper, a property portal is being introduced to:
- Help landlords to understand and comply with their responsibilities
- Give tenants information to ‘deal with’ ‘unscrupulous’ landlords
A specialist Landlord & Tenant Lawyer’s View
Jason Hayter says: “Whilst it is clear that the Government are abolishing S21 evictions to provide more security to tenants to prevent frequent tenant turnover and disruption, it appears that the balance has been swung too much in the tenant’s favour.
There is a danger that this will drive landlords out of the market, potentially increasing rents and limiting available properties.”
When will the renters reform bill come into force?
Jason Hayter continues: “The White Paper provided no commentary of when this will be introduced and implemented, or whether it will have retrospective impact.
No doubt further guidance will be released in due course, however by that time we anticipate that many landlords will be rushing to evict their tenants under S21 now whilst they still can.”
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