In May 2023, the government introduced a plan to ban ‘no-fault’ evictions in England in the form of the Renter’s Reform Bill. Introduced three and a half years after the initial Government manifesto, which promised to terminate such practices, the Bill aims to eliminate a crucial aspect of housing legislation that previously permitted landlords to evict tenants without any justification – a Section 21 notice under the Housing Act 1988.
Landlords will now be required to present valid reason(s) for eviction, such as proof of unpaid rent, property damage or a breach of the tenancy agreement. Last year, 1.8 million households either had their rent increased or were threatened with an increase, with 300,000 renters forced out of their homes by a rent increase. The ban on ‘no-fault’ eviction should bring a more equitable system. It aims to provide tenants in England with enhanced stability in their homes whilst still enabling landlords to safeguard their interests.
How are landlords and tenants affected?
As part of the reform, landlords and tenants alike will have to adapt to new legal frameworks, catalysing fairness and stability. This latest legislation comes shortly after broader housing reforms such as the Social Housing Regulation Bill and the Building Safety Act. These reforms sought to address the fundamental challenges unveiled by the Grenfell Tower disaster, meaning focus on safety and the standard of social housing is more cardinal than ever.
Notable provisions in the Renter’s Reform Bill that, much like the Social Housing Regulation Bill and the Building Safety Act, aim to improve landlord-tenant relationships include:
- Minimum housing standards to be introduced via the Decent Homes Standard within the private rental sector, meaning safer, higher quality homes are to become more accessible. This aligns with the government’s ‘levelling up’ mission to halve the number of non-decent rental properties by 2030.
- A new Ombudsman is to be appointed to efficiently and cost-effectively resolve tenant disputes. Failure to comply with this scheme can result in a fine of up to £5,000 by the local council. Repeated breaches can result in fines of up to £30,000, criminal prosecution and a Banning Order.
- Landlords and agents will no longer be able to refuse tenants who receive benefits, those with children. Doing so is illegal.
- Tenants will now have the legal right to request a pet in their home, and it must be considered by the landlord. The request cannot be unreasonably refused. Meanwhile, landlords can require pet insurance to cover property damage where pets live.
- Enforcement capabilities of local authorities will be extended to address criminal landlords. It will become mandatory for councils to report on their enforcement activities.
- An online property portal will be created, requiring landlords to prove compliance with their legal obligations.
Solicitors for Landlord and Tenant Matters in Cambridgeshire
At Bowsers Solicitors, we have an experienced and well-established team of solicitors and chartered legal executives, seasoned in supporting clients with various aspects of residential property, including buying to let.
In addition, we understand that, as a landlord or tenant, it is common for disputes to arise. When an issue does surface, although ideally, it would be resolved amicably between the two parties, this is not always possible. In such cases, our experienced team can support you, utilising alternative dispute resolution methods, and, where necessary, entering into court proceedings.