The Renters’ Reform Bill - what does it mean for you?
May 22, 2023
The Renters’ Reform Bill is set to abolish no-fault evictions and end bans on tenants with children or claiming benefits.
The new law will also make it easier for landlords to repossess properties from anti-social tenants, and tenants will be given the legal right to request to keep a pet in their home for the first time. Housing campaigners have dubbed the bill a huge opportunity, although it has been met with widespread opposition by landlords who claim it is 'anti-landlord'.
The bill heard yesterday aims to challenge these problems, giving tenants the opportunity to make their rental accommodation feel like home, rather than temporary housing. This has been met negatively by landlords, who feel the bill has shifted the renting dynamic in a way that favours tenants instead of balancing their rights.
MORE ACCESSIBLE HOUSING
Many rental agencies have blanket bans against renting to families in receipt of benefits, pets owners or those with children. The Renter’s Reform Bill seeks to fix this, making blanket bans illegal and giving tenants new rights, such as the abolition of no-fault evictions and making it illegal for landlords to refuse pets without just cause. The aim is that these tenants will have access to a much larger pool of properties.
HIGHER HOUSING STANDARDS
The bill has introduced a Decent Homes Standard, meaning all properties must adequately meet a minimum standard regarding their condition and state of repair. In addition, tenants will be able to challenge landlords that fail to do this, meaning tenants have greater power over the condition of properties they rent.
The Government announced a 'once-in-a-lifetime' overhaul of the private rental sector in England this week, which is estimated to impact around 11 million tenants and landlords across the country.
Greater social mobility
With landlords unable to increase rent more than once a year, tenants will be able to save a greater amount of money. The increase of the rent increase notice period from one month to two months will also provide tenants with greater time to find alternative accommodation or challenge any increases.
TRANSPARENCY FOR TENANTS
Landlords will be required to provide their tenants with extra information about rental properties, from the energy performance certificate (EPC) rating through to the rental history. Tenants will then be able to decide on the property with more clarity, assessing how much bills could be before moving in and if the landlord regularly increases rent.
HIGHER RENTAL COSTS
To recoup any money lost due to the Decent Homes Standard, it is likely that rental prices will increase. This may also happen in cases where tenants request their pets can live on the property, with the landlord not only requesting pet insurance but extra fees to facilitate this.
LESS FLEXIBILITY FOR LANDLORDS
While illegal, the former blanket bans were utilised by landlords to reject any tenants they deemed unsuitable. As such, it will now be much harder for landlords to reject tenants and to deny their requests, such as allowing pets on the property.
Similarly, the outlawing of no-fault evictions means it will be harder for landlords to remove tenants, meaning their flexibility regarding property management will be reduced.
POTENTIAL HOUSING LIMITS
With landlords in staunch opposition to the bill, there is the chance many individuals will sell their properties, instead of continuing to rent them out. This could have widespread implications for the housing market, such as driving up rental demand and causing a further spike in rental costs.