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Renters' Reform Bill - What this means for landlords

Renters' Reform Bill - What this means for landlords

What is the renters reform bill and what’s going to change?

The Renters’ Reform Bill was first proposed by Theresa May's government in 2019; which had a vision to improve the market for the 4.4 million private rental tenants across England.

This is the third attempt to push the bill through in three years. Since then, landlord associations, such as the NRLA, have been campaigning robustly to ensure landlords, alongside tenants, are represented fairly. 

Currently, under the housing act 1988, landlords have the right to evict tenants using both section 8 and section 21 notices.

Although the section 8 notice will remain firmly in place, the Renters Reform Bill will see the abolition of section 21, meaning the eviction rights for landlords will be impacted.

What is Section 21?

Section 21 is a no-fault notice landlords can serve to their tenants, should they wish to remove them from the property.

Landlords can currently use section 21 in two instances and must give at least two months notice:

  1. After a fixed term tenancy ends - if there’s a written contract

  2. During a tenancy with no fixed end date - known as a ‘periodic’ tenancy

There are additional requirements that you need to make sure you meet when serving notice under Section 21. Check out our Guide to Gaining Possession for full details. 

In some cases landlords may serve a section 21 notice, even if there is cause to serve a section 8. This is due to an often cumbersome process with the later, which will be summarised below.

What is Section 8?

A section 8 notice can be served by a landlord where the tenant is in breach of their tenancy contract, including circumstances of anti-social behaviour and damage to the property. 

It is worth noting that this is not an eviction order, tenants are not currently required by law to immediately leave the property and in some cases the dispute will go to court, which is likely to cost landlords time and money. 

What does this mean for me?

Although the Renters Reform Bill is disadvantageous for landlords, there are steps the government will take to protect them. The legislation will introduce a new ombudsman to help private landlords deal with disputes without the need for court proceedings, and create a property portal to help landlords understand their responsibilities. The ombudsman will cover all private landlords letting properties and assist in resolving any potential issues raised by tenants.

The bill will also bring about consultation on a legally binding Decent Homes Standard, and begin exploration of a National Landlord Register similar to the one in operation in Scotland. The Register would house a list of all rented properties in the country, and details of their owners, meaning responsible landlords will be able to showcase their credentials to prospective tenants. 

What are the next steps?

The Renters Reform Bill is highly likely to progress in the next few years and landlord associations such as the NRLA are avidly campaigning to ensure that section 8 is strengthened to give landlords rights to fairly evict their tenants without the need for costly court fees. We are proud to be supporting them with this quest by holding a MakeUrMove consultation process.

We’re asking landlords to take part in our ‘Renters Reform Survey’ which aims to add weight to the current campaigning. The consultation will take just a few minutes, once submitted, we will present the findings to the NRLA. Our mission is to give landlords a voice, so their concerns can have an effect in how the legislation evolves. To have your say, submit your answers today. 

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The imminent abolition of Section 21 has been described as the “biggest change to the private rental sector in a generation” but also “the biggest threat to landlords and letting agents in years”. Here we explore what the end of Section 21 will mean for you as a landlord and how you can get prepared, organised and fully compliant for when the new legislation is in place.