Under a new bill aimed at transforming England’s private rental sector, the Government has introduced a ban on ‘no-fault’ evictions.
Introduced to Parliament on 17th May 2023, the Renter’s Reform Bill has been eagerly anticipated and will eliminate a crucial aspect of housing legislation that permits landlords to evict tenants without any justification, known as a Section 21 notice.
Section 21 allows landlords to request tenants to leave a property without providing a reason. Typically, tenants have two months to leave before a landlord can pursue a court order for eviction.
The bill seeks to establish a more equitable private rental system and enhance overall standards in the sector.
In the proposed legislation, landlords will no longer be allowed to deny rentals to families with children or individuals receiving benefits. Additionally, tenants will have the legal right to request permission to keep pets in their residences.
Other notable provisions in the bill include:
- Implementation of minimum housing standards via the Decent Homes Standard within the private rental sector.
- Appointment of a new Ombudsman to efficiently and cost-effectively resolve tenancy disputes.
- Creation of an online property portal requiring landlords to prove compliance with legal obligations.
- Local authorities’ enforcement capabilities will be extended to address criminal landlords.
- Introduction of new procedures to streamline eviction processes for tenants engaging in anti-social behaviour or consistently missing rent payments.
The latest legislation is essential to the Government’s goal to promote equality throughout the nation. This comes shortly after broader housing reforms found in the Social Housing Regulation Bill and the Building Safety Act were introduced. These measures sought to address the fundamental challenges unveiled after the Grenfell Tower disaster, focusing on enhancing the safety and standard of social housing, as well as improving landlord-tenant relationships.
Housing Secretary Michael Gove said the new bill would ensure renters are “protected from the very small minority of rogue landlords who use the threat of no-fault eviction to silence tenants who want to complain about poor conditions”.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
However, the London Renters Union contends that landlords may find ways around the eviction ban by implementing significant rent increases and utilising other “back door” methods to push out unwanted tenants.
Siobhan Donnachie, a representative for the London Renters Union, described the bill as “long overdue” and expressed concerns that soaring rents could still make renters feel insecure.
“For the many families struggling with housing costs at the moment, a 20% rent hike is simply a no-fault eviction under a different name,” said Donnachie.
“If the government is serious about bringing renters security in our homes, it must recognise how insecure renters feel speaking out against unsafe housing or planning for the future with the threat of inflation-busting rent increases hanging over our heads.”
Solicitors in Cheltenham and Gloucester
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an invitation to act upon it. While Langley Wellington is a reputable law firm based in Gloucestershire, it is important to note that we currently do not provide property litigation services.
If you require legal assistance or advice regarding the matters discussed in this article, we recommend consulting with a qualified solicitor specialising in property litigation.