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Rental Reform White Paper - Key takeaways for Landlords & Tenants

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Rental Reform White Paper - Key takeaways for Landlords & Tenants

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.

The White Paper has some key takeaways for both Landlords & Tenants, which Property Litigation specialist Jason Hayter has outlined in this article…

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:

Is Section 21 being abolished?

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
  • Subletting

A full list of grounds can be found here.

What is the Decent Homes Standard?

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.

Why is a Private Renters’ Ombudsman being introduced?

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.

Why is a property portal being introduced?

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.”

Read our comprehensive residential landlord's guide here.

Property Litigation Advice

If you feel that you would benefit from advice on any Landlord & Tenant issues, including evictions, please feel free to contact our bright Property Litigation Team.

You can call us on 01202 499255, or fill out the form at the top of this page, for a free initial appointment.

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