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In the dynamic landscape of property, policies and regulations often shape the experience of both landlords and tenants. The proposed Renters Reform Bill has been generating conversation in the property industry for some time, as advocates argue it is a necessary step toward ensuring fair treatment and improved conditions for renters.

However, for landlords, it raises many questions around how it might affect their investments.

What is the Renters Reform Bill?

To summarise, the Renters Reform Bill is a legislative proposal aimed at reshaping the rental market, with a focus on enhancing renters’ rights and security, addressing issues such as affordable housing, stability and quality of rental housing.

What are the main key points of the Renter’s Reform Bill?

The Abolition of Section 21

One of the biggest talking points of the Renters (Reform) Bill is scrapping section 21 evictions.

So, why the change? Known as ‘no fault’ evictions, getting rid of section 21 means only tenants can end agreements without a reason, just by giving their landlord two months’ notice. This aims to give renters the confidence to stand up to bad landlords without worrying about losing their home.

In practical terms, tenancies will only end if the tenant decides to leave or if the landlord has a valid reason under section 8.

The end of fix term tenancies

Getting rid of fixed-term tenancy agreements means all tenancies will be periodic right from the start. If landlords try to set up a fixed-term lease or give a notice to quit, they could be fined by the local authority.

Why the change? This move gives tenants more flexibility, allowing them to leave at any time during their tenancy by giving their landlord two months’ notice.

Landlord Grounds for Possession

With section 21 gone, the Renters (Reform) Bill will beef up section 8 grounds for possession and promises to make the court process smoother for landlords.

A revamped section 8 will let landlords:

  • Move themselves or close family into the rental.
  • Sell the rental property.
  • Reclaim the property from tenants behind on rent.
  • Remove tenants causing trouble.

Most section 8 grounds will be mandatory, so judges will have to side with landlords if they can prove the grounds for possession.

Moving family into a rental property Landlords can currently use section 8 to move in, but not to move in children or other family members. The new Bill changes that, allowing family to move in after the first six months of a tenancy, with two months’ notice to the tenant.

Selling a rental property If landlords want to sell without tenants living there, they can use a section 8 ground under the new Bill. Tenants will need two months’ notice, and this can only happen after the first six months of the tenancy. The current mortgage repossession ground stays the same.

Changes for rent arrears Landlords can issue a section 8 notice if a tenant has been two or more months behind on rent three times within three years, even if they aren’t behind at the moment. If this is proven, tenants will get four weeks’ notice to leave.

Anti-social behaviour For serious anti-social or criminal behaviour, the notice period drops to two weeks.

How will the Renters Reform Bill Impact Landlords?

Whilst the detail of the Bill is not yet agreed, here we look at summarising the impact on Landlords in the detail available so far;

  • Tougher Eviction Processes – stricter regulations and procedural hurdles when seeking to evict tenants, resulting in more challenges for landlords to regain possession of their properties.
  • Rent Control Measures – impacting landlords’ ability to adjust rental prices according to market conditions.
  • Increased Responsibilities – additional responsibilities and obligations relating to property maintenance, safety standards and tenant welfare imposing potential financial and administrative burdens on landlords.
  • Security of Tenure – measures for long-term leases or restrictions on no-fault evictions, limiting flexibility for landlords in managing their properties and responding to their changing circumstances.

When will the Renters Reform Bill become law?

The government hasn’t set an official date yet. Initially, we thought the Renters’ Reform Bill would kick in on 1st October 2024 for new rentals and a year later for existing ones. But with the general election and the recent vote to pause the bill, we now guess it might start on either 1st April 2025 or 1st October 2025 for new tenancies, and existing tenancies will likely be affected in 2026.

Responding to the Changes

As the Renters Reform Bill undergoes deliberation through Parliament, we as an Agency at Brian Marshall & Sons are continually keeping abreast of the evolving regulatory landscape to ensure we, and sequentially, our Landlords are prepared.

If you have any questions, our team are here to help. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you.

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