Renters are one step closer to being given more autonomy under a new bill being published next week, however there are concerns over the “relentless attacks” on the sector in the past decade.
Michael Gove confirmed to Sky News earlier this week (May 3) that the renters’ reform bill will be published next week.
The bill, which was included in the Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto, will give greater rights and protections to tenants while also providing more clarity and support to landlords in the UK.
The bill will outlaw ‘no fault’ section 21 evictions, which currently allow landlords to terminate tenancies without reason, and will double notice periods for rent increases and give tenants more power to challenge them if they are unjustified.
Landlords will be able to use grounds such as repeated incidents of rent arrears for repossession, and reduce notice periods for anti-social behaviour.
The bill also applies the legally binding Decent Homes Standard to the private rental sector “for the first time ever”, and introduces a new ombudsman for private landlords for disputes to be handled outside of court.
Many in the sector have welcomed the bill, with Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns at industry body, Propertymark, said the “long awaited” legislation will bring much needed clarity for letting agents and their landlords.
“The legislation is likely to focus on improving standards and the quality of property in the sector.”
Polly Neate, chief executive officer at Shelter, said renters are currently in “constant fear” of being evicted with two months’ notice.
“Every day we hear from families stuck in insecure private renting, unable to put down roots and provide their children with the stability they need.
“Renters cannot wait any longer, so it’s good to see the government is finally going to get on with the job of bringing forward the renters’ reform bill.”
Ben Beadle, chief executive officer at the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “The new system needs to give landlords the confidence that, when faced with anti-social tenants or those building substantial rent arrears, they can swiftly and effectively repossess properties," he said.
"Without this the plans run the risk of exacerbating the supply crisis in the rental market."
However, there are worries about the impact the bill will have on the buy-to-let sector.
Gary Bush, financial adviser at MortgageShop.com said: “On the whole reform of this sector is needed and indeed overdue - I am however concerned at the relentless attacks that this sector has seen over the past decade and the effect that this will bring.”
“Landlords are clearly stretched to the max in some cases, due to the mortgage rate crisis, and even more properties being taken out of tenants hands, by being sold, will create an even greater problem for tenants who are not in a position to buy a property.”