Future of the Private Rented Sector

The government has recently published both a White Paper and a separate policy paper giving details of the reforms it plans to bring forward in the ‘Renters Reform Bill’.

Assured and assured shorthold tenancies (being the vast majority of current residential lets) will become a single form of periodic tenancy from their outset, with fixed term tenancies no longer being available. Tenants will be able to give two months’ notice at any time. By contrast, Landlords will need to establish a ground for possession (and meet any additional requirements, e.g. reasonableness). They will no longer be able to recover possession of their property unless the tenant is at fault.

The grounds for possession open to the landlord will be expanded however, e.g. to introduce a new mandatory ground where the landlord wants to sell or where a tenant has persistently been in rent arrears on a number of occasions over a period of years whether or not at the time of the proceedings. The “no fault / notice only” ground for possession (s.21, 1988 Act) will, however, be abolished.

It will be a requirement that the landlord provide written terms of tenancy at the outset, with unspecified penalties to apply if they dont.

Contractual rent increases will not be permitted and all rent increases will have to take effect in accordance with s.13, 1988 Act (in other words - agreed by the parties or determined by the First Tier Tribunal).

Privately rented homes will be required to meet a “Decent Homes” Standard.

Tenants will be given a right to request permission to keep a pet (permission not to be unreasonably withheld).

It will be unlawful for landlords / agents to adopt blanket prohibitions on renting to persons in receipt of welfare benefits or families with children.

A new private residential sector ombudsman will be established to foster early, efficient and effective dispute resolution otherwise than by litigation.

In November 2018 (HousingView, 19 November 2018), the government issued a consultation paper, seeking views on whether to establish a specialist housing court. There were over 700 responses and the government considers that the issues identified by the consultation (e.g. delays in the civil justice system) are best addressed within existing judicial structures (e.g. greater use of digital working) rather than by introducing a new housing court.

In June 2019 (HousingView, 1 July 2019), the government sought views on the regulation of tenancy deposits (Housing Act 2004) and evidence as to problems tenants face with finding the funds to put down as a deposit on a new property, before getting back their deposit on their current property. There was a very low response rate (447 responses) and the government has concluded that it will take no legislative action but will work with industry experts.

For advice on evicting tenants, please contact Oliver Kew on 01189 559612 or at o.kew@hewetts.co.uk

 

Published on 28/06/2022

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