What is the Rental Reform Bill, and Why is it Actually Important to Know About?

What is the Rental Reform Bill, and Why is it Actually Important to Know About?

Welcome to the exciting world of renting in the UK! It's like a rollercoaster ride, with a few twists and turns, but fear not – your friendly estate agent is here to guide you through the maze of property adventures.

Owning a home might seem like chasing a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, but fear not, because renting is the next best thing! It's a practical solution for those of us still on the journey to homeownership. Now, before you embark on this thrilling rental journey, fasten your seatbelt, and let's explore the wild world of UK renting.

Picture this: rising costs, soaring rents, and a shortage of perfect properties – it's a real estate jungle out there. But worry not, dear potential renter, because knowledge is power, and I'm here to arm you with all the quirky facts you need before you step into your new abode.

Hold on tight, because landlords and agents might throw a few challenges your way. Upfront payments, lists of do's and don'ts, and the occasional rental restriction – it's like navigating a game of Monopoly, but with more serious consequences. Don't worry; I'll be your Monopoly man, guiding you through the property board of life.

But alas, the renter's saga doesn't end with the lease agreement. Once you're in your humble abode, you might encounter the unexpected – repairs, damages, or the desire to upgrade your space. Fear not, for every challenge is just a step closer to becoming the master of your rental domain. So, buckle up and enjoy the ride – the keys to your rental kingdom await!

Ah, the silent renters, treading lightly and avoiding any waves with their landlords and agents. But fear not, for winds of change are blowing through the world of rentals, and it's time to turn up the volume on renter empowerment!

Once upon a time, the dreaded Section 21 notices cast a shadow over renters, keeping them hush-hush for fear of a 'No Fault Eviction' lurking in the background. Imagine being asked to leave when you've done nothing wrong – it's like getting a red card in a game you weren't even playing! But fear not, brave souls, because the UK Government stepped in to rewrite the rental narrative.

Enter the Renter's Reform Bill, a masterpiece in the making by our government wizards. This enchanting piece of legislation is designed to combat the mischievous minority of landlords and agents who abused the Section 21 clause. The goal? To elevate the rental experience, bringing it into the modern era with a touch of finesse.

Picture this bill as the superhero cape for private and social housing renters. It's on a mission to extend the 'Decent Home Standards' to every nook and cranny of the rental sector, ensuring that every renter has a legal right to a cosy, safe haven. It's like a fairy godparent waving its wand and declaring, "Every renter deserves a safe and warm home!" So, my friends, let the Renter's Reform Bill be the guiding light as we journey towards a brighter and cosier rental future.

What Are the Key Issues the Reform Bill is Going to Address?

In order to modernise the rental experience, and offer better protections for renters, the bill aims to:

-          Ban Section 21 No Fault Evictions

-          End arbitrary rent review clauses

-          Make it illegal for Landlords or Agents to ‘blanket ban’ renting to families with children, or to those in receipt of benefits

-          Make it easier for tenants with pets to find homes

-          Protect renters from unfit homes

-          Help with the rising costs of living

The Reform Bill was first proposed in April 2019, but due to the impact of the COVID pandemic, it has only recently made it through to higher levels, with HRH Prince Charles promising in the May 2022 Queen’s speech to, “strengthen the rights of tenants,” and in May 2022, the ‘New Deal for Renters’ promised to bring the biggest reforms to the private rental sector in decades.

The proposed legislation still needs to make its way through Parliament before it can be enacted into law, but once it does get through – it will give more control to renters and aim to balance out the power dynamic between them and their landlords.

The Bill has been positively welcomed by many housing charities, anti-poverty organisations, and campaigners who believe that all renters should be deserving of an acceptable home.

If the Bill Isn’t Law Yet, Why Should I Know About It?

There isn’t a time limit for the bill to pass through Parliament, and it has to go through the House of Commons and the House of Lords first – so it might still be some way off, but understanding how the rental industry is changing, and the protections that are due to be brought in, can help renters understand what is currently legal (and what isn’t), and better protect themselves should they need to.

It's also important to understand that not everyone is supportive of the motions in the Bill, especially surrounding Section 21. The argument is made that there are genuine reasons for a No Fault eviction to be served – such as anti-social behaviour, tenants causing wilful property damage, etc – and that a blanket ban on being able to remove tenants could make it more difficult to deal with these situations.

At present, Landlords can still issue Section 21 evictions, although the Government did ban them during the height of the pandemic to stop people from ending up homeless.

It is likely that the Reform Bill will be heavily debated by both sides, and potential changes could be made to allow for exceptional circumstances.

What Changes Would Impact Me as a Renter when the Bill Goes Through?

If there are no substantial changes to the bill, then the legislative requirements of Landlords and / or their Agents would require:

-          Homes free from serious health or safety hazards

-          Clean, appropriate, and usable facilities in the home

-          Consideration of pets with no unreasonable refusals

-          Longer (up to double) notice periods for rent increases

The Bill would also allow renters to take legal action should the property be in an unacceptable condition, if the Landlord did not serve the correct length of notice regarding rent increases, and for local councils to gain stronger powers for tackling the worst offenders – backed by enforcement and increasing fines.

Michael Gove, Levelling Up and Housing Secretary was quoted as saying, “For too long many private renters have been at the mercy of unscrupulous Landlords who fail to repair homes and let families live in damp, unsafe, and cold properties, with the threat of unfair ‘no fault’ evictions orders hanging over them. Our New Deal for renters will help to end this injustice by improving the rights and conditions for millions of renters.”

As we said, the Reform Bill isn’t in place yet, but it’s working its way through the system – giving hope to renters, and new standards to aim for to landlords, in an effort to level the playing field, and ensure that everyone has a home they can feel comfortable in.


Added: January 16, 2023 20:09:29