If you’re a landlord in the UK, you may be concerned about the proposed changes to evictions laid out in the recently revealed Renters Reform Bill. There have been discussions for some time regarding abolishing Section 21 evictions as an option for landlords. However, now that it seems likely to occur in the near future, it’s important to understand exactly what this means for your property, tenants, and investments.
The expanded reach of Section 8 is intended as a way for landlords to retrieve the property for practical reasons of residence previously covered by Section 21, so it’s also vital to learn about the opportunities and restrictions put in place regarding this.
In this blog post, we will explore the key provisions of the bill and their implications for landlords, specifically focusing on the eviction process.
What is the Renters Reform Bill?
The Renters Reform Bill is legislation proposed in Spring 2023 that seeks to bring about substantial changes in the private rented sector. Its primary goal is to enhance tenant security and provide a more balanced relationship between landlords and tenants.
It recommends a number of changes to the current status quo, from law regarding pets in rented property and the end of assured shorthold tenancies, to the new online property portal, to a new independent ombudsman to regulate all private landlords.
When will the Renters Reform Bill come into effect?
The exact implementation date is yet to be determined, though it’s expected to become law by the end of 2023. From there, some parts of the bill (such as the end of assured shorthold tenancies) will be rolled out in stages whereas others will immediately take effect.
Therefore, it is crucial for landlords to stay updated on the progress of the bill and any announcements made by the government regarding its commencement.
How does the Renters Reform Bill affect No-Fault Evictions?
One of the significant changes introduced by the Renters Reform Bill is the abolition of Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions. Under the current system, landlords can evict tenants without providing a specific reason.
Section 21 allowed landlords to serve tenants who had been in residence for at least 4 months with a notice of possession, requesting the tenants to leave after a notice period.
Even in cases where there was an issue with the tenants, many landlords used these as a dignified way to give tenants notice while avoiding lengthy disputes and court proceedings. They were also often used to allow for renovations or updates to take place at the property.
However, they have also been used less ethically. For example, towards tenants who make maintenance requests landlords are reluctant to fulfill, or to move on tenants who are unlikely to be able to pay the higher rents the landlord plans to implement.
The proposed reforms would require landlords to provide a valid reason for eviction under Section 8 of the Housing Act. This change aims to improve communication between landlords and tenants and reduce the number of unjust evictions.
Changes to Section 8 Grounds for Eviction
The Renters Reform Bill also aims to strengthen the Section 8 eviction grounds by expanding the reasons for eviction.
This will provide landlords with more options when they require use of their property or when dealing with tenants who breach their tenancy agreements or engage in anti-social behaviour. Landlords will need to provide evidence of the tenant’s breach of the tenancy agreement to support their case, ensuring a fair and transparent eviction process.
Some of the new grounds for eviction include:
- When the landlord wishes to sell the property (after at least 6 months of tenancy) or move close family into the property
- When a tenant has owed the equivalent of 2 months rent at least 3 times in the last 3 years
- If the property is needed to home essential or agricultural workers
- If a tenant takes enforcement action
- If a landlord plans to make major renovations to the property
What Practical Changes Will Landlords need to Make?
As the Renters Reform Bill becomes law, landlords will need to make practical adjustments to comply with the new regulations.
Some considerations include updating tenancy agreements to reflect the changes in eviction procedures, seeking legal advice when necessary, and ensuring compliance with the new requirements to maintain a successful and lawful landlord-tenant relationship.
Those who provide student accommodation may need to prepare for the circumstances of replacing tenants to become slightly more difficult, as fixed-term tenancies will no longer be an option.
There will also be limits on the number of times rent can be raised in a year and how much it can be increased by, which means landlords will now need to think about the long term when considering such changes.
For all landlords, the eviction process as a whole is likely to be harder under the new regulations. It’s expected that more evictions will be contested by tenants and tenancies which may have come to a natural end through fixed-term tenancies will now continue until actively terminated.
The Renters Reform Bill brings about significant changes to the eviction process, aimed at enhancing tenant security and improving the landlord-tenant relationship.
Landlords must familiarise themselves with the provisions of the bill, adapt to the new requirements, and ensure compliance to navigate the evolving rental landscape successfully.
With the changing rental landscape, it can be difficult to know the right when forward when it comes to tenant problems, rent arrears, or eviction. Able Investigations are experienced in process serving, repossession, and all laws surrounding landlords and tenants. For expert advice and their range of services, call 0345 366 0000.