Reforming The Landlord/Tenant Relationship

Published date20 July 2023
Subject MatterReal Estate and Construction, Landlord & Tenant - Leases
Law FirmWright Hassall
AuthorMs Perveen Dhami

Considerable column inches have already been devoted to the introduction of The Renters (Reform) Bill with many commentators lamenting that it will hasten the demise of the private landlord. Hailed as the biggest overhaul of residential tenancy law for over thirty years, it seeks to address perceived inequalities in the landlord/tenant relationship. The Bill is unlikely to hit the statute books until next year, not least as there are several aspects that will require ironing out such as the impact of the end of fixed-term tenancies on the student rental market.

What's in The Renters (Reform) Bill?

The most headline-grabbing reforms are the ending of no-fault evictions (section 21), a ban on landlords refusing tenants claiming benefits, and a legal right for tenants to ask to keep a pet.

Other key aspects include:

  • Ending fixed-term tenancies, instead tenancies will operate on a rolling monthly basis with no end date.
  • Allowing landlords to continue to be able to repossess their property if they want to sell or move in themselves (or close family).
  • Strengthening the grounds for repossessing the property if the tenant repeatedly fails to pay rent or displays anti-social behaviour).
  • Rent increases will be managed through a recognised process with tenants having the right to appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal against their landlord's proposed increase.
  • The appointment of an independent Ombudsman to help resolve tenant complaints if landlords have failed to deal with them adequately.
  • The establishment of a Property Portal, accessible by landlords, tenants, and councils.
  • The Decent Homes Standard will apply to all privately rented properties.
  • Only one rent review or increase per annum will be allowed and tenants must have two months' notice of any increase.

The Bill has been drafted in response to what tenants describe as a lack of security, resulting in a reluctance to complain about the condition of the property or about rent increases without fear of being evicted. The property portal will store information such as property standards, landlords' legal obligations, and proof that they are compliant. Tenants will have access to this...

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