The Queen’s Speech on 11th May included a commitment by the Government to “enhance the rights of those who rent.” Although not specifically mentioned, it is reasonable to assume that this refers to the Renters Reform Bill first introduced in 2019.
The Bill, which would see some of the biggest changes in the private rented sector for decades, proposes:
- Removing Section 21 of the Housing Act to end ‘no fault’ evictions and reforming grounds for possession
- Giving landlords more rights to regain possession
- Introducing lifetime deposits, which move with the tenant from property to property
- Widening the scope for entries on the rogue landlord and agent database
Any removal of Section 21 would need to be replaced with thorough grounds upon which landlords can legitimately repossess properties and court reform to ensure that possession orders are dealt with swiftly. Similarly, lifetime deposits need to work for all parties concerned – particularly for cases where deductions need to be made for tenant breaches.
The Government is expected to publish a White Paper in the autumn detailing the reform package after which will follow a consultation period before the introduction of a Bill. There is no suggested timeframe, but we anticipate that this could take anything from 9 to 24 months to come into effect.
Whilst the Government’s aim to drive out bad landlords is to be supported, care needs to be taken to not push out the good ones. Discouraging landlords will reduce supply, which could impact negatively on tenants as an imbalance of supply and demand could lead to much higher rents.