Landlords urge swift action on Renters Reform Bill

It comes amid proposed government amendments

Landlords urge swift action on Renters Reform Bill

Landlords have called for expedited action on the Renters (Reform) Bill, following the government’s disclosure of proposed amendments in a letter to Members of Parliament. The call for urgency, it was stated, underscores the heightened concern and uncertainty that has plagued both tenants and landlords due to prolonged speculation and delays surrounding the bill.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, pointed to the sector’s collective anxiety, emphasising a ‘dire need’ for clarity and progress.

“All the rumour, speculation, and off-the-record briefings about the future of the Bill have caused a huge amount of concern and uncertainty for tenants and responsible landlords,” Beadle said. He further advocated for the government to “crack on” to facilitate the bill’s advancement and thorough scrutiny.

The government’s intent to abolish ‘no fault’ Section 21 evictions is at the heart of the bill, with changes to the legislation to include the introduction of a property portal and an ombudsman. Beadle noted: “The Government has a mandate to end section 21 repossessions. Our focus has been on ensuring that the replacement system works and is fair, to both tenants and responsible landlords.”

Significant changes set to overhaul the private rented sector

Among the significant amendments, as noted in a Press release, the government plans to adopt a recommendation from the cross-party housing select committee - it suggests that tenants cannot issue a two-month notice to vacate a property until residing there for at least four months. Additionally, provisions will be made to allow early tenancy termination under circumstances of inadequate housing standards or domestic abuse.

Further considerations include a review of the courts’ capacity to handle an anticipated increase in cases following the abolition of Section 21, which would potentially acknowledge concerns raised by the Law Society regarding legal aid and a strain on the court system. The Law Society warned that “without investment for housing legal aid and the courts, the bill will not achieve its aims and may lead to an increase in backlogs and landlords and tenants alike will be unable to enforce their legal rights.”

The amendment proposals also aim to encompass all forms of student accommodation under the new possession grounds. This would come as a response to feedback from Universities UK - “the annual cyclical model is critical for landlords’ business models which ensures a timely and robust supply of student accommodation.”

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