Update On Renters Reform Bill (2023)

Posted on December 13th, 2023.

The main goal of the Renters Reform Bill is to ensure that tenants have access to secure and satisfactory housing while maintaining landlords’ confidence in repossessing properties when necessary. The key provisions of the Bill include:

View the policy paper here

Key areas of reform

Eliminating section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and modifying tenancy agreements to make all assured tenancies periodic.

Introducing additional grounds for possession when tenants are at fault, such as instances of anti-social behaviour and recurring rent arrears.

Enhancing safeguards against retaliatory evictions.
Establishing a new Ombudsman that mandates all private landlords to join.

Launching a Property Portal containing a database of residential landlords and privately rented properties in England.

Granting tenants, the right to request a pet in their residence, with landlords required to consider and reasonably justify any refusal.

Additional forthcoming measures from the UK Government involve:
Applying the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector.

Making it illegal for landlords and agents to impose blanket bans on renting to tenants receiving benefits or those with children.

Reinforcing local councils’ enforcement powers and introducing a new obligation for councils to report on enforcement activities.

Further to the second reading of the Renters Reform Bill on October 23rd, there are a number of points still being debated in Parliament.

  • Illegal to discriminate against tenants on benefits or those with children.
  • Protect the Student Market.
  • Reform of the Courts. The Government has pledged £1.2 million to fund a digital system for possession orders.
  • To scrap proposals for Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) to have a C rating for 2025.

Further points for consideration

The Bill is now at the Committee stage with no less than 34 organisations presenting their evidence to include Shelter, Citizens Advice Bureau, The Law Society, Advice for Renters, and Trading Standards. Industry regulator Propertymark has presented written evidence on behalf of its member agents on 8 separate issues.

  1. Return of the fixed term
  2. Improve ground 17 in relation to obtaining a tenancy by false statement.
  3. Improve grounds 11 and 12 for skills funding of local authorities for better enforcement of improvement notices to Landlords and Managing Agents.
  4. Clauses 24 and 25 of the Bill for Landlords to belong to a redress scheme, with the possibility to introduce a landlords private rented sector (PRS) Scheme.
  5. Clause 39 to introduce the Regulation of Property Agents (ROPA)
  6. Clause 58 to enhance local authority enforcement powers.
  7. Introduce a statutory procedure for rent increases with serving of a Section 13 Notice. Tenants to have a right of appeal at a first-tier tribunal if the proposed increase in deemed to be unreasonable.
  8. The viability of Rent Repayment Orders (RRO). This proposal was put forward by pressure groups like Shelter and Advice for Renters. This will give tenants the right to claim back up to 12 months rent if the Landlord or Agent has committed an offence. This is to include harassment of the tenant, violence or threatening behaviour, a trading ban and providing false information on the Private Rented Sector Database.

“The eagerly anticipated changes to the private rented sector in England are finally on the horizon, and the forthcoming Bill aims to provide much-needed clarity for letting agents, landlords, and tenants. Industry regulatory bodies, on behalf of their member Agents, are committed to collaborating with the UK Government to ensure that the practical aspects and policies effectively benefit those directly involved while establishing a sense of security and fairness for all parties engaged in rental agreements.
Equally crucial is the careful and well-coordinated implementation of these reforms. Given their significance for the sector, it is imperative that the execution is thoughtfully planned and managed. All stakeholders will require sufficient time to comprehend and ready themselves for the impending new measures” Says Chris Christodoulou.

Chris Christodoulou

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