Renters Reform Bill expected from October 2024

by | Jan 17, 2024 | News, Property, Proptech

Update: January 2024

The Renters Reform Bill has now reached the report stage in the House of Commons. It’s predicted the legislation will apply to new tenancies from October 2024, with the law changing for existing tenancies 12 months later in October 2025.

The bill as it stands is similar to what was initially outlined, with one key difference. The bill no longer includes a ban on ‘no fault’ Section 21 evictions. This element of the bill has been delayed indefinitely until the UK court system can be reformed. 



What will the Renters Reform Bill change?

In its current form, the Renters Reform Bill will lead to huge changes in the private rental sector.

The bill will see an end to the current widespread system of fixed-term tenancies. Instead of tenants and landlords committing to a period of fixed rent and occupancy, tenants will be free to end their occupancy at any time with notice, while landlords will be able to adjust rents to reflect market changes.

To address potential power imbalances under the new system, landlords will gain increased powers to regain possession of their property, and tenants increased protection to dispute unfair rent or poor practice without fear of eviction.

Also proposed is the introduction of a Private Rental Sector Ombudsman, which is expected to act as a non-profit liaison, acting in the interests of tenants, landlords and agents. Landlords will also no longer be able to refuse a tenancy on the grounds of a tenant receiving DSS (housing benefit), and tenants will gain the right to request a pet, with the landlord unable to refuse without ‘reasonable grounds’.


The key features of the Renters Reform Bill

The main features of the bill as it currently exists are:

  • The removal of Section 21, which allows for ‘no fault’ evictions. Landlords will now have to have a specific, permitted reason to evict tenants
  • Update January 2024: The removal of Section 21 rights is no longer part of the Renters Reform Bill, having been delayed until courts can be reformed
  • Changes to the process of evicting tenants and the list of permitted reasons to make it easier for landlords to end tenancies due to ‘anti-social behaviour’, non-payment of rent or when they want to use or sell  the property
  • Rent increases will be limited to once a year, with tenants able to appeal unfair rises
  • Stronger protections for tenants against ‘back door’ or illegal evictions
  • The creation of a private rental sector ombudsman to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants
  • Creating an online property portal for landlords to learn more about their legal responsibilities and register compliance
  • Giving tenants the right to request a pet at their property, which landlords cannot refuse without good reason
  • The end of fixed-term tenancies, to be replaced with indefinite rolling contracts or short term lets
  • Included in the original government whitepaper and expected at the same time is a ban on refusing tenants based on them having children or being in receipt of certain benefits


Concerns about the Renters Reform Bill

Before the bill enters open discussion there has already been criticism levelled at the legislation from both landlords and tenants.

Many private landlords were concerned that the removal of section 21 eviction rights would leave them without protection from anti-social or delinquent tenants, although this legislation has now been removed from the bill. Similarly, as interest rates on mortgage products and operational costs across the board rise, some private landlords believe that tenants’ rights to appeal rent increases would render their properties unprofitable.

Many tenants, meanwhile, are concerned about the increased powers landlords are to be granted to evict tenants who miss rent payments or are deemed ‘anti-social’ – section 8 evictions. The bill both broadens the definitions of what would constitute anti-social behaviour and expedites the eviction process in these circumstances.

There are also criticisms from both sides levelled at the bill that it does little to address the underlying cause of the housing crisis. When spiralling mortgage rates are putting buying a home out of reach for most and climbing rents, there’s a sense that the Renter’s Reform Bill is skirting the actual issue – a need for quality and affordable housing.

Where private landlords are unable to provide this, whether it’s because of being priced out of the market or divesting their portfolios to opt for a lower-risk investment option, it’s likely we’ll see more properties purchased by multi-development corporate landlords, and more evicted tenants turning to the unstable short-term lets still permitted under the bill.


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