Following months of speculation, the government have now provided further details of their proposed reform to the private rental sector, after first planning to transform the landscape in the Queen’s Speech.
The ‘fairer private rented sector’ white paper outlines the reforms that are due to take place, one of the most significant of which is the banning of section 21 notices (or so-called ‘no fault’ evictions) that give landlords control over the termination of tenancies without having to provide a specific reason. 
The government have stated as part of the justification of this that over 20% of private renters during 2019-2020 did not terminate their tenancy through choice.

Another significant reform is the ‘New Deal’ which is designed to assist the estimated 21% of private renters who are living in unfit homes. The New Deal will extend the Decent Homes Standard (applicable in social housing) to the private sector for the first time and may have a significant financial impact on landlords who will be required to ensure that the properties they let out adhere to the Standards by being free from health and safety hazards, are clean, have appropriate and useable facilities, and are in a good state of repair.
Other measures designed to benefit tenants include:

  • Ending bans on renting to families with children, and particularly those on benefits who currently face being denied a tenancy due to being unemployed
  • Ending the use of rent review clauses
  • Providing tenants with the ability to be repaid rent for homes that fall foul of the Decent Home Standard
  • Providing tenants with easier options to request a pet to be allowed in their homes
  • Providing all tenants with periodic tenancies which allow them to leave poor quality housing without ongoing liability for rental payments
  • Ensuring landlords have to provide double the length of notice for rent increases and restricting increases to one per year
  • Increasing enforcement powers for councils to deal with the most serious offenders, including increasing the fines that can be given
Measures in the bill to benefit the 2.3 million private landlords in the UK include:

  • The creation of a Private Renters’ Ombudsman to deal with disputes
  • Ensuring landlords can gain possession of their property from anti-social tenants
  • Ensuring landlords can sell their properties when needed (through new section 8 grounds)
  • Introduction of a property portal to help landlords understand their responsibilities and comply with them
In relation to social housing landlords, the Government have also introduced the Social Housing Regulation Bill which will introduce unlimited fines and inspections of social housing deemed to be failing, and tenants will be able to request information on and rate their landlord.
For further information on how this might affect you and what you can do to prepare…