Research and reports
The government has published the draft legislation for widespread rental reforms in England, which include scrapping Section 21 evictions.
Read on to find out what’s included in the Renters’ Reform Bill, when new laws could be introduced, and what this means for you.
The plan to reform the rental market was first proposed by Theresa May’s government in 2019. It’s since been backed by successive prime ministers and was the subject of a white paper in 2022.
It was announced in early May that, four years later, that draft legislation was due to be ready this month. And after an initial delay put down to ‘procedural issues’, it’s now been published.
On launching the bill, Housing Secretary Micheal Gove said: “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.
“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.
“Our new laws will support the vast majority of responsible landlords who provide quality homes to their tenants, while delivering our manifesto commitment to abolish Section 21 evictions.”
The new legislation closely follows last year’s Fairer Private Rented Sector white paper, with the headline measure being the end of Section 21 evictions.
This means tenancies will only end if a tenant ends it or a landlord has a valid reason, defined in law.
The other key reforms outlined in the white paper are:
*The Renters' Reform Bill only applies to tenancies in England. There are different laws for other parts of the UK
Although the bill has finally been launched, there’s no official date on when rental laws could be updated.
It’s likely that some of the measures included in the bill will be able to be introduced into law at short notice. However, others may require primary legislation, which means they could take over a year to get through parliament.
The Bill will now start its journey through the House of Commons and House of Lords, before receiving Royal Assent which is when it formally passes into law.
According to the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), some stages of this process can take days, while others can take months.
As a result, the NRLA says it could take up to 18 months for legislation changes to take effect.
A spokesperson for the NRLA said: “The government has confirmed that it will provide at least six months’ notice of the first implementation date, after which all new tenancies will be governed by the new rules.
“Existing tenancies will be given a further twelve months’ notice from the first implementation date to convert to the new system.”
Although it could take some time for new rental laws to be introduced, they’re likely to have a significant impact on landlords and tenants.
The abolition of Section 21 evictions will make it more difficult for landlords to regain possession of their properties for no reason. However, it may be easier and quick to evict tenants who have broken their tenancy agreement.
The new measures will increase the security of tenure for tenants and making it easier to keep pets could improve the appeal of renting for many.
Meanwhile, property standards could improve with the introduction of a decent homes standard.
However, a potential unintended consequence of the Renters’ Reform Bill could be more landlords leaving the buy-to-let market due to an increased legislative burden and rising costs. This may also discourage new landlords from entering the sector.
As a result, the shortage of rental homes could be made worse and average rental prices could continue to rise.
It’s important for landlords to stay up to date with the status of rental reforms. This is because you may be required to improve your property to meet a minimum standard or make changes to your tenancy agreements to reflect new rules on evictions and pet ownership.
Now the Renters’ Reform Bill has been published, keep an eye on our Knowledge centre for regular updates.
How do you feel now rental reform legislation has finally been published? Let us know in the comments below.
Conor Shilling is a Copywriter at Simply Business with over two years’ experience in the insurance industry. A trained journalist, Conor has worked as a professional writer for 10 years. His previous experience includes writing for several leading online property trade publications. Conor specialises in the buy-to-let market, landlords, and small business finance.
We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer
6th Floor99 Gresham StreetLondonEC2V 7NG
Sol House29 St Katherine's StreetNorthamptonNN1 2QZ
© Copyright 2023 Simply Business. All Rights Reserved. Simply Business is a trading name of Xbridge Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Registration No: 313348). Xbridge Limited (No: 3967717) has its registered office at 6th Floor, 99 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7NG.