Key takeaways from the Renters (Reform) Bill
Those who have any involvement in rented residential property have been waiting for the publication of the Renters (Reform) Bill for some time and certainly since the publication of the white paper on Renting Reform, which was published last year.
Sarah Barratt, partner in our real estate dispute resolution team, summarises the key points of the Bill.
The key points
The Bill sets out some significant amendments to the residential rented sector, including:
- Abolishing fixed-term tenancies so that all tenancies will be periodic, with a maximum period of one month
- Abolishing assured shorthold tenancies (and, with them, the s21 route for possession)
- Giving the right to tenants to keep a pet, subject to landlord’s consent, and there will be a requirement for insurance to cover the risk of pet damage
- A written statement of terms will be required
- New offences can be committed by landlords in certain circumstances
- There will be a requirement to have complied with requirements relating to the tenancy deposit before possession can be recovered
- Local Authorities will have enforcement powers
- An Ombudsman Scheme will be created together with a private rented sector database
- There will be a procedure for review of rent increases
- There will be many more mandatory grounds for possession, including if the landlord wishes to sell the property.
- Notice periods will be between 2 weeks and 2 months
- There will be transitional provisions in cases where possession action has started using either the current s8 or s21 procedure.
What comes next?
The proposals set out in the Renters (Reform) Bill do not cover all of the proposals set out in the White Paper.
Further legislation can be expected to deal with, amongst other things, the application of the decent homes standard to the private rented sector.
It is also proposed that the legislation coming into force will coincide with an improved court service, including an end-to-end digitalisation of the possession process.
There will inevitably be much debate about the forthcoming changes, and it remains to be seen what, if any, changes will be made to the legislation before it reaches the statute books.