Rental Reform: Tenants will be granted more control

Over the next 6-24 months we are expecting some changes to the rental market to help combat rouge landlords. Some of these changes include; restriction on multiple rent increases each year to just once, ensuring that landlords do not leave homes in a poor state of repair, giving tenants more flexibility on pets.

In summary:
  • Section 21, known as “no fault” eviction, will be abolished
  • Fixed term contacts will be outlawed and replaced with a single system of periodic tenancies, effectively introducing the notion of indefinite tenancies
  • Tenants will be able to end a tenancy by giving 2 months’ notice at any time
  • Renters are set to be protected from unfair rent increases as part of a package of reforms to improve the private rented sector
  • ‘No fault’ evictions will be banned, and homes will have to meet minimum standards
  • It will be illegal for landlords to refuse families with children or people receiving benefits, while it will also be easier for renters to have pets
Renters are set to be protected from unfair rent increases as part of a package of reforms to improve the private rented sector.
  • Rent increases will only be allowed once per year
  • You’ll need to give tenants 2 months’ notice of any increase, rather than 1
  • You’ll no longer be able to include rent review clauses in contracts
  • Tenants can appeal to First-tier Tribunal if they feel a proposed rent increase is unfair
New rules being introduced will also end ‘no fault’ evictions, while all rental homes will have to meet minimum standards, the government said.
  • The government claims the measures will help to redress the balance between landlords and the 4.4 million people who rent homes in the private sector.
  • While the majority of renters have safe homes, the government wants to help the 21% of people who rent in the private sector have properties that are deemed to be unfit, more than half of which pose a risk to renters’ health and safety.
Written tenancy agreements
  • Written tenancy agreements will be mandatory
  • Special Terms will be allowed
  • Tenants must keep property in good condition and allow access for repairs and maintenance
  • Landlords can get injunctions to allow access to a property if a tenant refuses
Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions will also 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.
  • All the 14 day notice periods for using grounds for possession will double to 1 month
  • 2 months’ notice will be required where circumstances are beyond the control of the tenant
  • New mandatory grounds introduced for landlords wishing to sell or for “immediate family members” (yet to be definitely) moving in
  • New mandatory ground for repeated serious arrears, where the tenant has been in at least 2 months’ arrears at least 3 times in the previous 3 years
  • Holiday Let ground abolished – effectively banning the practice of landlords in holiday destinations offering short term lets over the summer followed by a longer term tenant over the winter
  • Notice period for anti-social behaviour and rioting lowered to 2 weeks
  • Deregulation Act requirements abolished except Tenancy Deposit Protection
  • Several specific new grounds for things like agricultural tenancies, shared ownership and sheltered accommodation
Other changes include making it illegal for landlords to have blanket bans on families with children or people receiving benefits, and it will also be easier for renters to have pets.
  • Blanket bans on benefit recipients or children/families are not allowed
  • Decisions must be based on individual circumstances
  • Landlords will not be able to unreasonably withhold consent for a tenant to have a pet
  • Tenant can challenge decision
  • Pet insurance strongly encouraged and will be added as a “Permitted Payment” under the Tenant Fees Act
A new Private Renters’ Ombudsman will also be created to settle disputes between renters and landlords quickly and at a low cost, while renters will be able to demand information on their landlord and rate them.
  • Covers all private landlords, regardless of whether they use an agent
  • Powers will include making landlords: Apologise, provide information, take remedial action, reimburse rent, pay compensation of up to £25,000
Other key announcements
  • All landlords must register on a new “Property Portal”, which is in effect the expected landlords register. This will be enforced by local authorities and it will incorporate the Database of Rogue Landlords and Agents, which will be made public.
  • Properties in the private rental sector must meet the “Decent Homes Standard”. 21% of Private Rented Sector housing is currently non-decent.
  • Landlords should allow tenant modifications to their homes, under the goal of wanting to help tenants make their house a home.
  • Lifetime deposits will rely on market-led solutions rather than any immediate government intervention to make them mandatory.
  • There will be no new housing court. Instead there will be a “package of reforms” that will target the areas holding up proceedings.
How the changes will take place.
  • Implementation will happen in 2 stages
  • All new tenancies will become periodic, governed by the new set of rules, from a first implementation date
  • All existing tenancies will transition to periodic tenancies on a second implementation date
  • The industry will be given at least 6 months’ notice ahead of the first date
  • There will be at least 12 months between the first and second dates
  • Any renewals that happen between the first and second date will renew onto a periodic tenancy