A Landlord Must Read: The biggest change to renters law in a generation

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It was announced in the Queen’s speech earlier this year that there will be new measures put in place for the private rental sector that will restore the balance between landlords and tenants as part of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities reform agenda.

The aim of the bill is to improve standards within the private rental sector and ensure that all renters have access to secure, quality homes. It’s hoped that these reforms will help to ease the cost of living pressures renters are facing, saving families moving from one privately rented home to another over £1400 in moving costs.

Propertymark, a professional membership body for the property industry, released statistics that suggest around 1.6 million tenants are living in properties that pose an imminent risk to their health and safety currently. The reform is aimed largely at supporting those people.

It will also support landlords’ grounds for repossession, making it easier for them to evict tenants who are wilfully not paying their rent or engaging in anti-social behaviour, in a bid to improve neighbourhoods.

What the government has to say:

  • Renters Reform Bill will provide biggest change to renters law in a generation – improving conditions and rights for millions in private and socially rented sector
  • Legislation will drive up quality for private renters, extending the Decent Homes Standard to the sector for the first time and giving all renters the legal right to a safe and warm home
  • It will ban Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, protecting tenants from unscrupulous landlords, while strengthening landlords’ legitimate grounds for taking back their property

Other proposals for the reform include:

  • Landlords must consider tenants the right to have pets and will not be able to unreasonably refuse
  • It will be illegal for landlords or agents to refuse renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits
  • Notice periods for increases in rent will double; and tenants will have more power to challenge those increases

A positive for landlords is that a new Private Renters’ Ombudsman will be created to settle disputes between them and their private tenants much faster and at a lower cost. This will keep disputes out of the courtroom and ensure that landlords can obtain possession of their properties from anti-social tenants; as well as being able to sell their properties when they need to.

Propertymark will be working with Ministers to help them understand how the reform will impact their landlords.

If landlords fail to comply with existing or changing legislation then they could be liable for hefty fines or run the risk of not being able to claim their property back at the end of the tenancy. It is vital that if you have a property which you currently let out and manage privately, that you make sure you are fully complaint and understand of the proposed changes, or better still, instruct a Propertymark Protected agent such as Sims Williams to look after your asset.

Sims Williams are estate and letting agents in Chichester, Bognor Regis, Arundel and the Six Villages. For advice on letting your property, mortgages and conveyancers, book an appraisal with your local branch.

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