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What will the Renters Reform Bill mean to landlords in Surrey?

Updated 20 May 2023

The Renters’ (Reform) Bill was introduced into Parliament on 17 May and delivers the Tories’ 2019 manifesto commitment to “empower renters to challenge poor landlords without fear of losing their home. “   The new Bill will also aim to protect over two million landlords, making it easier to regain possession of the property – so they can sell their property if they want to, move in a close family member, or when tenants wilfully do not pay rent. 

Here are the main points of the Bill:

Abolish ‘No fault’ section 21 evictions

The “no-fault” section 21 evictions currently permit landlords to serve an eviction notice on a tenant at the end of a fixed-term tenancy or during a rolling periodic tenancy, without cause.  The white paper proposes to repeal this law. According to government statistics, 8% of private tenants who left their houses in 2019 and 2020 did not do so of their own free will; instead, more than 20% of them were evicted by their landlords.
The Government wants to replace fixed term ASTs with a single system of periodic tenancies to make it easier to adjust to the new legislation. A tenant who wishes to leave must give two months’ notice in order for the landlord to re-let and avoid having vacant premises.  A tenant may only be evicted by a landlord under “reasonable conditions”. This amendment in the law will apply to properties that are rented to students, but purpose-built student housing will be exempt.

The Renters Reform Bill is now making its way through parliament

Eviction and gaining possession

Although these grounds won’t be available during the first six months of the tenancy agreement, they will become necessary for landlords who wish to sell their rental home or move back in themselves.  It also appears that new procedures are planned to guarantee that tenants in arrears have a reasonable chance of paying these off without losing their house, and new mandatory grounds for recurrent substantial arrears will also be introduced.
Pets to be allowed in rental homes once the Renters Reform Act comes in

Pets in rental properties

Every tenant will have the right under the law to seek a pet to live with them in their rental property. Such requests must be given consideration, and the landlord cannot unjustly refuse to allow them.  To cover any potential damage to the property brought on by the pet, they can nevertheless demand that their tenant has pet insurance. A landlord’s denial may be contested, albeit the specifics of how this will operate are not yet known.

Renters Reform Bill makes its way through parliament and will include the Decent Homes Standard DHS

Decent Homes Standard

According to the government, 1.6 million individuals today live in unsafe, subpar housing that poses a serious threat to their health and safety. To tackle this, the new law will expand the “Decent Homes Standard”, a regulatory standard that currently applies to the social rented sector, to the private rental sector (PRS).  Landlords will have a responsibility to ensure that the homes they rent out pose no significant health and safety concerns, such as fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Homes must have “clean, acceptable, and functional” facilities, adequate heating and cooling, adequate kitchen and bathroom facilities, and noise insulation.

The Renters Reform Act is coming to the Private Rental Sector

Banning certain types of tenants

The new legislation will outlaw any ban on tenants with children, those in receipt of Universal Credit or any minority groups.

Rent increases and rent in advance payments

Rent review provisions will no longer exist, and landlords would only be permitted to increase their rent annually. Any rent increase will require two months’ notice.  If a tenant pays their rent in advance, the landlord will now be responsible for returning any overpaid rent when the tenancy is over. There may also be a cap on the amount of rent that landlords can demand in advance.The renters reform act when it becomes law will give tenants more security of tenure

Property Ombudsman Scheme

The introduction of a single, government-appointed ombudsman with authority over all private landlords in England will enable conflicts to be resolved more quickly, easily, and affordably without having to go to court.The Ombudsman will have a variety of powers, including compelling landlords to apologise, provide certain information to their tenants, take steps to address unresolved issues at the property, and/or pay up to £25,000 in damages to their tenants.  All landlords will be required to join an ombudsman scheme.

You can read the Government guidance on the Bill HERE

If you have any questions regarding the Renters Reform Bill please email us: