In a Government White Paper published Thurs 16th June, The Renters Reform Bill has unveiled plans which represent "the biggest shake-up of the private rented sector in 30 years".
Landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants in England without giving a reason, and the Bill will end blanket bans on benefit claimants or families with children - and landlords must consider requests to allow pets.
Housing charity Shelter called it a "game-changer".
According to Shelter, nearly 230,000 private renters have seen serviced with a section 21 notice since the government first pledged to scrap this particular form of eviction in April 2019.
Of all the private renters leaving their accommodation in 2019 and 2020, 8% had been asked to go by their landlord, the Department for Levelling up said.
The white paper states ‘The lack of security makes it difficult for tenants to challenge poor practice or save for a home of their own,’
England lags behind the rest of the UK as no-fault evictions are already banned in Scotland for tenancies starting after 1 December 2017, the Welsh government says no-fault-eviction notice periods will be extended to six months by the end of 2022 and legislation to extend the notice period for tenancies is going through the Northern Ireland Assembly
How might a ban on no-fault evictions work?
As yet no details have been released on how the rules may work, but if we look at Scotland’s system then we can get an idea of how things might work.
The rules vary depending on the type of tenancy and when notice is given but for private tenancies starting from March 2022, there are 18 official reasons or "grounds for eviction" that landlords can give, and then they have to submit these to a Tribunal to get an official eviction order.
Some of the reasons that can be given for the Scottish Tribunal evictions are;
- The landlord wants to move into the property or sell the property or wants a family member to move into the property
- The landlord wants to refurbish the property
- The tenant is behind on at least three months' rent.
- The tenant has breached the tenancy agreement
- The tenant has engaged in antisocial behaviour
Other proposals in the Renters Reform paper
- A pledge to end arbitrary rent review clauses, give tenants stronger powers to challenge poor practice, and unjustified rent increases and enable them to be repaid rent for non-decent housing
- Notice periods for rent increases will be doubled and tenants will have stronger power to challenge rises if they are unjustified
- It will become illegal for landlords or agents to have blanket bans on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits
- All tenants will be moved on to a single system of periodic tenancies, meaning they can leave poor-quality housing without remaining liable for the rent or move more easily when their circumstances change
And reforms For Private Landlords
In addition, the estimated 2.3 million private landlords will have greater clarity and support through the following measures:
- A new Private Renters’ Ombudsman will be created to enable disputes between private renters and landlords to be settled quickly, at low cost, and without going to court
- Ensuring responsible landlords can gain possession of their properties efficiently from anti-social tenants and can sell their properties when they need to
- Introducing a new property portal that will provide a single front door to help landlords to understand, and comply with, their responsibilities as well as giving councils and tenants the information they need to tackle rogue operators
Responding to proposals, the National Residential Landlords Association said "the detail to follow must retain the confidence of responsible landlords".
Ben Beadle, its chief executive, said: "We will be analysing the government's plans carefully to ensure they meet this test. A failure to do so will exacerbate the housing crisis at a time when renters are struggling to find the homes they need.