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The Renters (Reform) Bill has been making waves in the UK's housing sector for a while now. With its long-awaited Second Reading scheduled for Monday, October 23, it’s high time we delve into the details of this groundbreaking legislation and explore what could happen next.

What is the Second Reading?

The Second Reading is a pivotal stage in the legislative process where the general principles of a bill are debated in the House of Commons. Following this, the bill undergoes further examination, amendment, and approval by both Houses before it receives Royal Assent to become law.

Why is the Second Reading Important?
The Second Reading serves as a litmus test for the legislation, gauging the level of support or opposition it might face as it progresses. With Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's recent endorsement, the bill looks set to navigate the complexities of the parliamentary process with renewed vigour.

What Proposals are on the Table?
The Renters (Reform) Bill is ambitious in scope, aiming to overhaul the private rented sector substantially.
Here are some key proposals:
 
  • Abolishing Section 21
Evictions One of the most talked-about aspects of the Renters (Reform) Bill is the abolition of Section 21, commonly known as 'no-fault evictions.' This change aims to empower tenants by ensuring that they can't be evicted without a legitimate reason, thereby granting them a greater sense of security and enabling them to challenge poor landlord behaviour without fear of losing their home.
  • Introducing a New Mandatory Ombudsman for Landlords
In a move towards increased accountability and oversight, the bill proposes introducing a new mandatory Ombudsman for landlords. This mechanism is designed to provide a fair, impartial avenue for tenants to raise complaints about their landlords, ideally leading to quicker resolutions and greater overall satisfaction within the sector.
  • Establishing a New Digital Property Portal
The bill aims to make it easier for tenants to understand their rights and landlords' obligations by introducing a new digital Property Portal. This portal will serve as a comprehensive guide, listing all legal obligations landlords must adhere to, thus empowering tenants to make better-informed decisions when entering into new tenancy agreements.
  • Granting Tenants the Legal Right to Request a Pet
Recognising the important role that pets play in many people's lives, the bill proposes that tenants should have the legal right to request to keep a pet in their rented home. Landlords will be obligated to consider these requests and will not be able to unreasonably refuse them. They may, however, require pet insurance to cover potential damages.
  • Application of the Decent Homes Standard
Perhaps one of the most groundbreaking elements of the bill is the proposed application of the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector for the first time. The 2021-2022 English Housing Survey indicated that nearly a quarter of privately rented homes don't meet current standards, which has knock-on effects including increased healthcare costs. By extending the Decent Homes Standard to privately rented homes, the government aims to raise the overall quality of housing and promote tenant well-being.

What Happens Next?
After the Second Reading, the bill will undergo a 'carry-over motion' allowing it to transition into the next parliamentary session beginning with the King’s Speech on November 7. This ensures that the bill continues to be a focus for the government and keeps its legislative journey on track.

Conclusion
The Renters (Reform) Bill is more than just legislation; it's a transformative agenda for the UK's housing market.
Stay tuned as we continue to monitor its progression and impact on both landlords and tenants.

If you'd like to discuss any element of the Renters Reform Bill please get in touch with us: lettings@willsandsmerdon.co.uk