The Renters Reform Bill is Delayed

The renters reform bill is to double the notice period for rent increases to two months, no-fault evictions to be banned and to establish minimum housing standards for rented accommodation.

  • The renters reform bill set to protect renters from unfair rent increases and ‘no fault’ evictions has been delayed

  • The renters reform bill, which was set to be introduced into Parliament in May, is expected to set minimum standards that all rental homes will have to meet, making it easier for renters to have pets and prevent landlords from having blanket bans on certain tenants

  • A new date for the renters reform hasn’t been set. The bill could take 12 to 18 months to go through Parliament and become law

A new bill protecting renters from unfair rent increases and ‘no fault’ evictions has been delayed, with The Mirror newspaper reporting today that “procedural issues” are behind the hold up.

The Renters’ Reform Bill, which contains a package of measures to improve the private rented sector and increase the rights of tenants, was set to be introduced into Parliament this week.

A new date for its first reading is yet to be set.

The bill is expected to set minimum standards that all rental homes will have to meet, make it easier for renters to have pets, and prevent landlords from having blanket bans on families with children or people receiving benefits.

The government has described the measures as the biggest shake up to the private rented sector for 30 years.

But it is unclear when the measures will come into force. The bill will take time to go through the legislative process, so it could be 12 to 18 months before it becomes law.

The bill comes as renters face a shortage of homes in the private rented sector, pushing rents higher at a time when renters are already struggling with the cost-of-living squeeze.

What will change?

While the exact contents of the bill are not yet known, many of the measures have been widely flagged by the government.

The key aim of the bill is to enhance renters’ rights and ensure their homes are fit to live in.

Here’s what’s expected to be announced:

  1. Arbitrary rent review clauses will be outlawed.

  2. The amount of notice renters will be given about rent increases will be doubled.

  3. Renters will have stronger powers to challenge rent rises if they think they are unjustified.

  4. The Decent Homes Standard will be extended to cover the private rented sector for the first time, to ensure all private rented properties are fit for occupation. If homes fall below this standard, people will have their rent repaid.

  5. Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions will be banned, meaning tenancies will only end if a renter wants them to, or the landlord has a valid reason, defined in law, to do so.

  6. Going forward, all renters will be moved into a single system of ‘periodic tenancies’, enabling them to leave poor quality housing without remaining liable for the rent, and making it easier for people to move if their circumstances change.

  7. Councils will be given stronger powers to tackle rogue landlords, including larger fines for serious offences.

  8. A new Private Renters’ Ombudsman will also be created to settle disputes between renters and landlords quickly, at a low cost and without having to go to court.

  9. Renters will be given the right to ask to have a pet in their home. Landlords must consider the request and cannot unreasonably refuse it.

  10. Renters will also be able to demand information on their landlord and rate them following the introduction of a mandatory landlords’ register.

Why is this happening?

Around 4.4 million people currently rent their home in the private sector.

But one in five live in properties that are deemed to be unfit, more than half of which pose a risk to renters’ health and safety, according to the government.

Meanwhile, research shows that more than a fifth of private renters who moved in 2019 and 2020 did not do so by choice.

The government hopes the new bill will redress the balance between landlords and tenants and, by banning ‘no fault’ evictions, provide renters with more stability.

Who does it affect?

While the bill is good news for renters and provides them with additional protections, there are concerns that it could lead to some landlords leaving the private rented sector.

Research by the National Residential Landlords Association found that 76% of landlords felt their business was threatened by the bill, with 93% saying it would increase the financial risk of being a private sector landlord.

Rents have increased by 10.9% during the past year to average £1,120.

The rise has been caused by a large increase in demand combined with a shortage of available homes to rent.

A combination of tax changes, increased regulation and higher interest rates have caused many buy-to-let landlords to exit the sector in recent years.

If the bill causes more landlords to sell up, it could put further upward pressure on rents.