The Renters (Reform) Bill in England 101

Do you want to know how the new Renters (Reform) Bill will impact your rights and living conditions? We will break down the key facts and provisions of the bill, ensuring you have a solid understanding of what it means for you as a tenant. Let's dive right in!

The Renters (Reform) Bill in England 101

Do you want to know how the new Renters Reform will impact your rights and living conditions? We will break down the key facts and provisions of the bill, ensuring you have a solid understanding of what it means for you as a tenant. Let's dive right in!

General outcome

Pros for Tenants:
  • Greater protection against arbitrary rent increases, ensuring more stable and predictable rental costs.
  • Improved housing quality and safety standards, offering tenants healthier and safer living environments.
  • Abolition of Section 21 "no fault" evictions, providing tenants with increased security and stability in their tenancies.
  • Enhanced rights to keep pets, allowing tenants to experience the joy and companionship of furry friends in their rental homes.
Cons for Tenants:
  • The bill may lead to a potential decrease in the availability of rental properties, as landlords may feel less inclined to participate in the market due to increased regulations.
  • Increase in rent as a result of the implementation of a new digital property platform and the compulsory damages scheme for landlords. Moreover, certain landlords may need to upgrade the standards and quality of their properties. In this case, they would return investments by increasing rent prices.
  • Stricter enforcement and compliance measures may lead to more stringent tenant screening and selection processes.

Pros for Landlords:
  • Introduction of a new ombudsman covering all private landlords, ensuring fair and impartial resolution of disputes.
  • Implementation of a digital property portal, making it easier for landlords to comply with regulations and access necessary guidance.
Cons for Landlords:
  • Landlords may face increased administrative burdens and costs associated with compliance and registration on the digital property portal.
  • Limitations on rent increases and changes in eviction procedures may affect landlords' ability to manage their properties and respond to changing market conditions.
1. What is the Renters (Reform) Bill?
The Renters (Reform) Bill is a significant legislative proposal introduced to Parliament on 17 May 2023. It aims to bring about comprehensive reforms to the private rented sector in England, with the goal of improving tenant protections, housing quality, and the overall rental experience.
2. Why is the Renters Bill being introduced?
The private rented sector is important for the housing market and has doubled in size since 2004. However, some renters face insecurity due to no-fault evictions. Nearly a quarter of privately rented homes do not meet basic decency standards, which is costly for the NHS and unattractive to live and work in.
The Renters Reform aims to improve the system for both renters and landlords in England. The reforms have been developed in consultation with landlord and tenant groups over the past 5 years.
3. What's included in the Renters Bill?
  • Abolishment of Section 21 "no fault" evictions, providing tenants with increased security.
  • Periodic tenancies become the standard, simplifying tenancy agreements for both parties.
  • Doubled notice periods for rent increases, ensuring tenants have sufficient time to adjust to any changes.
  • Stronger rights for tenants to keep pets, with landlords being unable to unreasonably refuse consent.
  • Introduction of a new ombudsman to address grievances and improve dispute resolution between landlords and tenants.
  • Creation of a property portal, offering a centralized platform for landlords and tenants to access information and guidance.
4. A new mandatory Ombudsman for landlords and renters
Ombudsman will serve as a neutral third party to address disputes and grievances between landlords and tenants in the private rented sector. Their primary role is to provide an independent resolution process for resolving conflicts and ensuring that both parties' rights are upheld. The Ombudsman will have the authority to investigate complaints, mediate between landlords and tenants, and make legally binding decisions when necessary. By establishing a mandatory Ombudsman, the bill aims to improve accountability, transparency, and the overall quality of the private rented sector.
5. Tenants' right to keep pets
The bill recognizes the importance of pets to tenants' well-being and happiness. Landlords will be required to consider pet ownership requests on a case-by-case basis, with the ability for tenants to challenge unfair decisions. Landlords can request insurance to cover potential pet damage, offering them peace of mind. However, there will be certain situations where it will always be reasonable for a landlord to refuse a pet, such as when the superior landlord prohibits pets. In cases of disagreement, tenants can escalate their complaint to the Private Rented Sector Ombudsman or pursue legal action, and the final decision will be based on the evidence provided by both parties.
6. Rent increases and rent in advance
Under the Bill, notice periods for rent increases will be doubled, allowing tenants more time to adjust their finances. This change aims to strike a balance between affordability for tenants and landlords' ability to maintain fair rental prices. Rent in advance practices will continue, providing landlords with financial security.
7. New property portal for landlords and tenants
The Property Portal will give renters access to information about privately rented properties. This will help local councils identify poor quality and non-compliant properties more easily, which is one of the biggest and most time-consuming barriers they face when enforcing standards. The portal will also help identify who owns these properties.
8. A Decent Homes Standard
The Renters Bill intends to introduce a Decent Homes Standard for the private rented sector. This standard will ensure that rental properties meet specific criteria, including adequate heating, ventilation, and structural safety. It aims to improve the overall living conditions for tenants and enhance property standards across the sector.
9. Blanket bans on benefits
A new bill aims to make it illegal for landlords and agents to have blanket bans on renting to tenants in receipt of benefits or with children, promoting equal opportunities for tenants regardless of their financial circumstances and ensuring no family is unjustly discriminated against when looking for a place to live.
10. When will the changes be implemented?
The implementation of the Renters (Reform) Bill will occur in two stages.
  • New tenancies will be subject to the new rules after a minimum notice period of six months following Royal Assent.
  • Existing tenancies will transition to the new system at least 12 months after the first implementation date, ensuring clarity and avoiding a two-tier rental sector.
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