What was included in the Queen’s Speech?
Amongst other things, the Queen’s Speech unveiled a ‘new deal’ for the private rented sector; in the form of the Renters Reform Bill.
This Bill is something that the Government have referenced before, but the Queen’s Speech confirmed its introduction.
What will the Renters Reform Bill do?
The Bill will strive to improve home quality standards of 4.4 million households, stabilise the private rented market and encourage a curb on non-compliant landlords.
Below I’ve outlined, in more specific detail, the reforms that are included in the Bill…
Decent Homes Standard
One prominent reform is the extension of the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector.
With this, the Government aim to improve the standard of the current 21% of private rented homes that are of an unacceptable standard.
The ultimate goal is to ensure that these renters ‘have access to secure, quality homes and levelling up opportunities’.
Abolition of Section 21 Evictions
The Bill proposes that Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions will be scrapped.
This means that landlords will have to rely on Section 8 if they wish to commence possession proceedings, providing a ‘concrete and evidenced reason’ to evict a tenant.
The grounds for a Section 8 eviction are usually rent arrears and anti-social behaviour. As part of the Renters Reform Bill, the Government are planning to strengthen these grounds…
Will the Renters Reform Bill improve landlord’s rights?
As mentioned above, the Renters Reform Bill will attempt to strengthen landlords’ rights of possession.
To do this, the Bill will give landlords more powers to tackle rent arrears, introducing stronger grounds for repeat offenders.
It is also set to reduce the required notice periods for certain incidents, meaning that landlords may be able to repossess their property sooner.
When will the Renters Reform Bill come into force?
This is unknown, and it has been mooted for years now. It is also unclear whether it will have retrospective impact on existing tenancies or only be applicable to new tenancies from a certain date. More guidance and announcements will surely follow in due course.
What is the new ombudsman for landlords?
The Queen’s Speech also proposed an Ombudsman to reduce the number of possession cases that go to court.
Essentially, the Ombudsman, in theory, would aim to settle landlord and tenant disputes quickly and without court involvement.
Landlords would be encouraged to take action to settle any issues and complaints.
When is the compulsory landlord register being introduced?
A compulsory landlords’ register was not mentioned in the Queen’s Speech, so we are yet to have an update on this.
Whether or not the proposed register will be introduced is still up for debate. However, if introduced, the register will likely include measures such as:
- It being mandatory for landlords to join the redress scheme;
- Landlords having to improve energy efficiency in some 800,000 properties which failed ‘safe, warm and in a good state of repair’ criteria.
Are lifetime deposits being implemented for renters?
Discussions around the proposed lifetime deposit scheme for renters have essentially been postponed for the time being and were not included in the Queen’s Speech.
Theoretically, a lifetime deposit scheme would let tenants keep one deposit across multiple tenancies. They could essentially move this deposit from one tenancy to another.
In principle, the scheme would be beneficial for both landlords and tenants; speeding up the process of starting a new tenancy.
How does the Queen’s Speech affect landlords?
Will Bartley, Property Litigation Lawyer, says: "Scrapping of S21 Notices will not be popular with landlords, as it will prevent them from regaining possession of their property without a reason. This is currently attractive to landlords who may wish to reside there, improve the Property, or sell it, and these luxuries may be at risk.
However, it does appear that the Government is keen to balance the impact by introducing arbitration and improving S8 grounds.
It is yet to be seen when any of this will be implemented, however we will continue to keep you updated on developments and announcements as they happen."
Specialist Property Litigation Solicitors
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We will be able to advise you on the appropriate way of proceeding, as well as represent you throughout negotiations and Court proceedings if necessary.
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