The Government is pressing on with its proposals to abolish “section 21” and radically overhaul the private rental sector. The legislation is aimed at improving the rights and conditions for the millions of renters across the UK and forms part of the Government’s “levelling up “ strategy and its drive to reduce homelessness, pressure on local authorities and to find the extra resources required to act against rogue Landlords.
It is primarily designed to remove the ability for a short two month eviction notice to be given for no particular reason and to address retaliatory evictions (beyond the existing provisions) and properties in a poor state of repair.
There are also proposals that streamline the enforcement options open to Landlords in the case of defaulting tenants and speed up the (often very lengthy) court process.
A summary of the proposals is as follows:
- Section 21 “no fault “ evictions will be abolished and a “simpler and more secure” tenancy structure implemented meaning a tenancy can only be ended upon a certain ground of possession being established;
- Grounds for possession will be reformed to ensure that landlords have an effective means of securing possession and the Government also intends to work with the Court service to identify ways to address unacceptable delays in proceedings;
- An Ombudsman Scheme will be introduced which all private Landlords must join;
- Rent increases will be permitted only once annually and the Tenant’s rights to review in the First Tier Tribunal strengthened. Rent Review clauses will be abolished;
- Provision for a public portal so that all parties can understand their obligations and potentially “naming and shaming “ of Rogue Landlords;
- Strengthening of local authorities enforcement powers with regard to rogue/criminal Landlords;
- Landlords will not be able to refuse Tenants on benefits or those with children and Tenants will also have the right to keep a pet in their property; and
- Introduction of a “Decent Homes “ standard – introducing a requirement for privately rented homes to meet a minimum standard for the first time.
Private Landlords and Investors are well accustomed to new rules and regulations, as the sector has been substantially changed over the past 10 years. However, these proposed changes are highly significant and close attention will need to be paid to the movement of this legislation through Parliament, as the Government has indicated it intends to implement these changes during the course of 2022/2023. It will be of great interest to see how the market responds to these changes and if over time, as it intends, there will be a greater level of certainty introduced into the sector for both Tenants and Landlords.
This is also not the only significant change to the residential sector with major changes with regard to Building Safety and also Leasehold Reform – Landlords, Owners, Investors, Developers, Agents and Tenants should be up to date and aware of all these changes.
If you should wish to discuss any of issues arising , please not hesitate to get in touch with the Teacher Stern Property Litigation Team.
A link to the Policy Paper can be found here: A fairer private rented sector - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)