The long-awaited Renters Reform Bill had its first reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday 17th May.
The proposals have been informally discussed since April 2019 and it could still be a while before it is introduced. The Bill still needs to have the second House of Commons Reading, the Committee Stage, Report Stage and a third reading, followed by the same process in the House of Lords before moving on to the final stages.
There are many proposed changes within this Reform, however outlining the main points, the Section 21 ‘no-fault evictions’ will be abolished. This will be replaced with a stronger, more efficient, and more comprehensive system for landlords to recover their property. This could include the event that they need to sell, require the property for a direct family member, or need to evict the tenant for reasons such as repeated rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.
Under the new laws, landlords will be able to increase the rent in line with market values but will not be able to increase the rent to above market value. An independent tribunal can (and will) be able to make a judgement as to whether this is a fair rent. The notice periods for any rent increases will be 2 months, and similarly to current rules, the rent can only be reviewed once per year.
There will be a new Private Rented Sector Ombudsman where all landlords must join. This aims to provide fair, impartial and binding resolutions to many issues that may occur. A new online Property Portal will help landlords understand their legal obligations, and help tenants understand their own obligations and allow them to make informed decisions when entering into a tenancy agreement.
Another key amendment as part of this rent reform is that landlords will not be able to unreasonably refuse a pet. They will, however, amend the Tenant Fee Act 2019 to allow landlords to ask the tenants to pay for Pet Insurance to cover any damage caused by the pet.
Further and up to date information can be found on the Government Website HERE.