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Understanding Renters Reform: Section 21 Abolition and Key Changes for Landlords

May 22, 2024
The Renters (Reform) Bill, introduced to Parliament in May 2023, is making its way through the legislative process and could bring about the most significant changes for private renters and landlords in England in three decades.

The bill passed the House of Commons in April 2024 and is now in the House of Lords, where it faces five more stages before potentially receiving Royal Assent to become law.

The headline provision of the bill is the proposed abolition of Section 21 "no-fault" evictions. However, it contains many other reforms that would impact tenants, landlords and letting agents.

These include:

  • Moving to "rolling" periodic tenancies instead of fixed terms, providing more security for tenants
  • Allowing tenants to more easily have pets in rental properties
  • Applying the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector to improve housing quality
  • Creating a new Private Rented Sector Landlord Ombudsman to resolve disputes
  • Establishing a new property portal to help landlords understand and comply with their obligations
  • Banning landlords from having blanket policies against renting to those on benefits or with children
  • Strengthening local councils' enforcement powers against substandard properties and landlords

While the government is pushing to get the bill passed quickly, it still faces some hurdles. A group of around 50 Tory MPs have threatened to vote against it unless certain concessions are made, such as delaying the Section 21 ban until the courts system is improved. There are also claims of a potential loophole that could allow some Section 21 evictions to continue even after the ban takes effect.

If enacted, the Renters (Reform) Bill has the potential to significantly rebalance power between tenants and landlords. Renters would enjoy more stability and flexibility to make their rental property a long-term home. They would have expanded protections against unfair evictions and poor living conditions. However, some landlords worry the changes could make it harder to remove problem tenants. The effectiveness of the reforms will depend on the details of implementation and ensuring the court system can handle a likely increase in possession cases.

In light of these upcoming changes, it is more important than ever for landlords and letting agents to thoroughly vet prospective tenants. LetHQ's professional tenant referencing services can help you select reliable, low-risk renters. Our comprehensive reference checks verify the identity, credit, and rental history of applicants. Choosing the right tenant from the start can prevent many potential issues down the road.

For added peace of mind, consider LetHQ's Rent Guarantee Insurance. Our policies protect your rental income even if the tenant fails to pay, so you can avoid arrears and costly evictions. With the private rental sector poised for transformation, taking these prudent steps to reduce risk is simply smart business.

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