The Renters Reform Bill: What Is It and What Changes?

The Government have now published a draft of the proposed Renters Reform Bill. This will have to pass through multiple parliamentary processes and potential amendments before law is passed. It is unlikely that this law will be finalised in 2023 but is likely to be published in 2024.

What is the Renters Reform Bill? 
The Renters Reform Bill is essentially a ban on no-fault evictions, banning Landlords from evicting tenants without a valid reason.
We have compiled a list of the main points you need to know.

The Abolition of Assured Shorthold Tenancies
AST’s will be replaced with monthly rolling contracts, known as periodic tenancies. These already exist, typically at the end of a contract, where a renewal hasn’t taken place.
The Abolition of Section 21

Section 21 of the Housing Act allows Landlords to break contracts and regain possession of their property without good reason, giving tenants no more than two months to find a new property and vacate. It is unusual for a Landlord to evict a tenant who pays rent without arrears and maintains the property.

This is the point that has gained the most publicity. Landlords will still have the ability to regain possession of their properties, but this only based on certain grounds, i.e. tenants are regularly in rent arrears.

Landlord Grounds for Possession
Landlords will have the ability to evict tenants who consistently fall into arrears, there is increased protection for Landlords in these circumstances.

If a Landlord would like to sell or move back into their property, they will be able to do so but not within the first six months of the tenancy.

A Landlord’s rights to repossess a property based on tenants anti-social behaviour has been strengthened also.

Rent Increases
Landlords will only be able to increase the monthly rental price once per year and must give their tenants two months’ notice. As a tenant, you have the right to challenge this through a tribunal if necessary.

Landlord Register
There have been proposals for a Landlord register, where tenants would have access to an online portal and can view the Landlord’s levels of compliance.

Pets
The bill will force Landlords to consider a tenant’s request to keep pets in the property and remove their ability to refuse these requests without good reason. Landlords will be able to refuse in reasonable circumstances, such as restrictions on their headlease.

Refusal of Families/Tenants Receiving Benefits
The Renters Reform Bill will make it illegal for a Landlord to refuse a family or tenant who receive Government assistance. In future, this may be expanded to other groups, such as prison leavers. Landlord’s would receive improved support from the Government, should they let to a tenant on benefits.