“Renters will benefit from stronger security of tenure and better value, while landlords will benefit from reforms to provide certainty that they can regain their properties when needed.”
- A thriving private rented sector is a vital part of our housing market – providing flexibility for those who want it, and a secure stepping stone towards home ownership for aspiring renters.
- The Renters (Reform) Bill delivers our manifesto commitment to upgrade the private rented sector and improve renting for the long-term. It will provide greater security and certainty of quality accommodation for renters, while helping landlords get their property back swiftly when needed, such as evicting anti-social tenants or those repeatedly in rent arrears.
What does the Bill do?
As part of the Government’s long-term plan for housing, the Renters (Reform) Bill will support the 11 million private tenants and 2.3 million landlords in England by:
- Delivering the Government’s manifesto commitment to abolish ‘no fault evictions’, increasing tenants’ security. We will not commence the abolition of section 21 until stronger possession grounds and a new court process is in place.
- Strengthening landlord grounds for possession, adding new mandatory grounds for possession; for example, if landlords wish to sell property or for repeated serious rent arrears, as well as expanding grounds for when close family members wish to move in. If a tenant breaches their tenancy agreement or damages the property, landlords will be able to evict them in as little as two weeks.
- Introducing stronger powers to evict anti-social tenants. Tenants who are persistently disruptive should be evicted – a measure that will be welcomed by both landlords and responsible tenants. The Bill will seek to halve the delay between a landlord serving notice for anti-social behaviour and eviction, with landlords able to make a claim in the court immediately. We will also broaden the criteria for disruptive and harmful activities that can lead to eviction.
- Ending blanket bans on pets. Tenants will have the right to request a pet, which landlords cannot unreasonably refuse. We will do this whilst protecting landlords’ properties by allowing them to require insurance to cover potential damage from pets.
- Creating a digital Private Rented Property Portal to bring together key information for landlords, tenants, and councils. Landlords will quickly be able to understand their obligations and demonstrate compliance. Councils will be able to use the Portal to target enforcement where it is needed against a minority of unscrupulous landlords. Tenants will be able to access helpful information when entering tenancies.
- Supporting quicker, cheaper resolution when there are disputes – preventing them escalating to costly court proceedings – with a new Private Rented Sector Ombudsman that will provide fair, impartial and binding resolution, reducing the need to go to court.
Alongside this, we intend to bring forward amendments at the earliest opportunity to:
- Make it illegal to have blanket bans on renting to tenants in receipt of benefits or with children – so no family is discriminated against, while landlords will retain the final say on who they rent to.
- Squeeze out criminal landlords who undercut the responsible majority – making it easier for councils to target enforcement action and arming them with further enforcement powers.
- Protect the student market. We recognise that the student market is largely cyclical and that landlords must be able to guarantee possession each year for a new set of tenants. We will introduce a new ground for possession to facilitate this.
Alongside the Bill the Government is pursuing wider measures to support landlords:
- Speeding up the courts process so landlords can quickly regain possession of their property if a tenant refuses to move out. We will align the abolition of section 21 with reform of the courts. We are starting work on this now, with an initial commitment of £1.2 million to begin designing a new digital system for possessions. As work progresses, we will engage landlords and tenants to ensure the new system supports an efficient and straightforward possession system for all parties.
- Scrapping proposals to require landlords to meet EPC C from 2025 in their private rented properties. As announced by the Prime Minister in September, we will not be taking forward proposals to force private landlords or homeowners to upgrade homes to EPC C. Landlords can still take advantage of the many government-backed schemes available to improve energy efficiency but at a time that suits them.
Territorial extent and application
- The Bill will extend to England and Wales and apply to England.
- We have taken significant action over the past decade to improve private renting. This has included improving safety standards through requirements for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, awarding £6.7 million to local councils to boost their enforcement work where things go wrong, and reducing financial barriers to rented by capping most tenancy deposits at five weeks’ rent.
- We have also legislated to ban tenant fees. This has reduced the upfront cost for tenants of renting and provided greater transparency over what a given property will cost them in the advertised rent with no hidden costs.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic the Government’s emergency measures helped tenants to remain in their homes by banning bailiff evictions, extending notice periods, and providing unprecedented financial aid.
- We are on track to meet our manifesto commitment of one million additional homes over this Parliament and have delivered almost 2.3 million homes across England since 2010, giving millions of people the opportunity of homeownership while boosting the supply of homes for rent.
- Unexpected evictions cause financial difficulty and disrupt employment and schooling and over a quarter of households that moved in the last year did not do so by choice. Each school move at a non-standard time reduces expected GCSE grades by 0.5.
- Most landlords and properties let are sensitive to shifts in interest rates – almost 60 per cent of landlords (and almost 70 per cent of properties let) are financed through a Buy to Let mortgage. We must protect their rights to increase rents to the market level.
- Most landlords hold a small portfolio – having worked hard to secure this property – over 40 per cent rent out just one property, while a further 40 per cent own between two and five, and the remaining 18 per cent own five or more. We must ensure the new systems works for all.