The future of Section 21 possession orders is at risk with the introduction of the new Renters Reform Bill published on 16 June 2022.
Currently, there are around 4.4 million private rented tenants and an estimated 2.3 million private landlords in the UK. These new proposals are quoted to be the biggest shake up of the private rented sector in 30 years!
Most of the UK’s landlords will be familiar with the term ‘Section 21’ which is derived from Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. This particular legislation allows landlords to evict tenants without giving any reason, provided the tenancy’s initial fixed term has expired. It is also commonly referred to as the “no fault eviction”.
What does this mean for tenants?
The proposals are for all tenants to be moved onto a single system of periodic tenancies, which means that tenants can leave poor quality housing without remaining liable for rent. Further, a tenancy will only come to an end if a tenant ends it, or if the landlord has a valid reason, defined in law.
These changes will also introduce doubling of notice periods for rent increases and giving tenants stronger powers to challenge them if they are unjustified. This is a major reshuffle of power between tenants and landlords. Tenants will also be able to rate their landlord as part of new satisfaction measures.
What does this mean for landlords?
The end of arbitrary rent review clauses means that any rent increases will need to be justified and landlords will be liable to pay back tenants for rent in any housing that is not considered to be up to the required standard.
It will be illegal for landlords to put any so-called ‘blanket bans’ on renting to families with children, or tenants in receipt of benefits.
The Government propose to introduce a new Private Renters’ Ombudsman to enable disputes between landlord and tenants to be settled quickly and out of court. A further introduction of a ‘property portal’ proposes to help landlords understand what their responsibilities are and to comply with them.
The Government have also promised that responsible landlords will be able to gain possession of their properties efficiently from anti-social tenants and can sell their properties if/when they need to.
When will this come into force?
Whilst there is no date set yet, the Government have made it clear this is their next phase in their levelling up mission, which is aimed to be completed by 2030. Further updates will be published on our website.
In the meantime, if you require assistance in gaining possession of your property, or you have received a notice to vacate your property and are unsure what steps to take next, then you may benefit from taking specialised legal advice.