The pro-tenant anti-landlord Renters Reform Bill has at last been published by the government which first promised it in 2019.
It has a series of pledges to court favour with renters - it will be harder to evict tenants, easier for renters to have pets, a Decent Homes Standard will be introduced, and landlords will have to join a mandatory Ombudsman scheme.
The government says 11m tenants across England will benefit from “safer, fairer and higher quality homes thanks to a once-in-a-generation overhaul of housing laws.”
The Renters’ (Reform) Bill, introduced to Parliament today, delivers the Tories’ 2019 manifesto commitment to abolish section 21 evictions which will - in the government’s words - “empower renters to challenge poor landlords without fear of losing their home. “
The new Bill also claims to “protect” over two million landlords, making it easier for them to recover properties when they need to – so they can sell their property if they want to, move in a close family member, or when tenants wilfully do not pay rent.
Notice periods will also be reduced where tenants have been irresponsible – for example breaching their tenancy agreement or causing damage to the property.
The government launch statement says the reforms “will strengthen powers to evict anti-social tenants, broadening the disruptive and harmful activities that can lead to eviction and making it quicker to evict a tenant acting anti-socially.”
There will also be a “reformed courts process … for the minority of evictions that do end up in the courts, more of the process will be digitised – reducing delays.”
A new mandatory Ombudsman for landlords will be introduced while a new digital Property Portal will list landlords’ obligations “and help tenants make better decisions when signing a new tenancy agreement.”
Housing Secretary Michael Gove says: “Too many renters are living in damp, unsafe, cold homes, powerless to put things right, and with the threat of sudden eviction hanging over them.
“This government is determined to tackle these injustices by offering a New Deal to those living in the Private Rented Sector; one with quality, affordability, and fairness at its heart.
“Our new laws introduced to Parliament today will support the vast majority of responsible landlords who provide quality homes to their tenants, while delivering our manifesto commitment to abolish Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions.
“This will ensure that everyone can live somewhere which is decent, safe and secure – a place they’re truly proud to call home.”
Tenants will also be given the legal right to request a pet in their home, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse.
Landlords will be able to require pet insurance to cover any damage to their property.
The government will also bring forward legislation as part of the Bill to:
- apply the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector for the first time;
- make it illegal for landlords and agents to have blanket bans on renting to tenants in receipt of benefits or with children:
- strengthen councils’ enforcement powers and introduce a new requirement for councils to report on enforcement activity.
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