In yesterday’s Queen’s Speech – which set out government’s agenda for new laws to be introduced over the coming months – ministers again vowed to introduce a ‘Renters’ Reform Bill’ (the ‘Bill’).
The Prime Minister’s Office has confirmed that the Bill “will abolish so-called ‘no fault’ Section 21 evictions and strengthen landlords’ rights of possession, providing a fair and effective market for both tenants and landlords” (p.11) and has set out its full scope at pages 67-68.
The key elements are:
+ Abolishing so-called ‘no fault’ evictions by removing Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (the ‘Act’).
+ Reforming possession grounds for landlords – introducing new and stronger grounds for repeated incidences of rent arrears and reducing notice periods for anti-social behaviour.
+ Applying the legally binding Decent Homes Standard in the Private Rented Sector.
+ Introducing a new Ombudsman for private landlords so that disputes can easily be resolved without the need to go to court.
+ Introducing a new property portal to help landlords understand their obligations and to give tenants performance information to hold their landlord to account.
It therefore appears that the proposed ‘lifetime deposit’ scheme is off the table for the time being, while a national landlord register scheme for England appears to have been put on hold too.
Government has said that the White Paper setting out the above elements will be published “shortly” (p.68). It is expected next month.
Government’s acceptance that reforms to the private rented sector need to strengthen the ability of landlords to tackle anti-social tenants and those with repeated rent arrears is to be welcomed.
However, to successfully achieve this, the abolition of section 21 of the Act must be accompanied by reform to section 8 of the Act, ideally giving a clear list of reasons why a tenant can be evicted. In addition, court reform to ensure cases can be dealt with more expeditiously is needed too.
Hopefully the new and revised existing grounds for possession will be fair and workable!
If you need support in relation to any residential landlord law related issue, then get in touch with Rebecca Chadwick at Landlord Support for some free and friendly initial advice followed by fixed fee support throughout your case:
01704 790 532