Property: How could the new laws for renters affect you?
- Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
The government recently published a new white paper which it says will make the private rented sector (PRS) fairer.
The paper included the case for change, as well as details of the Renters Reform Bill and a 12-point action plan covering everything from housing standards to banning 'blanket' bans on who landlords can let to.
Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, said: “Everyone has a right to a decent home. No one should be condemned to live in properties that are inadequately heated, unsafe or unhealthy.
"Yet more than 2.8 million of our fellow citizens are paying to live in homes that are not fit for the 21st century. Tackling this is critical to our mission to level up the country.”
So, what could the measures mean for you?
Better quality homes
The government says that everyone deserves to live in a safe and decent home and hopes, for the first time, to introduce a legally binding Decent Homes Standard (DHS).
- 1 Man in his 20s dies after hit-and-run
- 2 Property spotlight: Four-bed home with 'secret garden' goes on the market
- 3 Volunteers transform old telephone box into book exchange
- 4 'Genuine shock' after biker killed in town centre hit-and-run
- 5 Plenty of smiles as Fakenham students collect A-level results
- 6 What is like to run holiday lets in Wells?
- 7 WEIRD NORFOLK: The local shoe shop haunted by a 'one-legged poltergeist'
- 8 Active Fakenham Week to offer huge selection of free activities
- 9 Norfolk spot named among UK's best waterside pubs
- 10 Dentist offers free check-up days for children to tackle backlog
To be 'decent', the regulation will require that homes must be free from the most serious health and safety hazards, such as fall and fire risks or carbon monoxide poisoning, and that landlords must make sure rented homes don't fall into disrepair.
Kitchens and bathrooms should also be adequate, located correctly and require decent noise insulation so that renters have clean, appropriate and useable facilities, and homes must also be warm and dry.
No more 'no fault' evictions
Under the plans, the government will banish Section 21 'no fault' evictions, which means a tenancy will only end if the tenant ends it or if the landlord has valid grounds for possession.
It's hoped that this will empower tenants to challenge poor practice and reduce the costs associated with unexpected moves. Over a fifth (22pc) of private renters who moved in 2019-2020 did not end their tenancy by choice.
The government also hopes to create a simpler tenancy model, with Assured Tenancies or Assured Shorthold Tenancies replaced with a single system of periodic tenancies.
Under the new system, tenants will need to provide two months' notice when leaving a tenancy, and landlords will only be able to evict tenants on reasonable grounds, which will be outlined in law.
Fewer rent rises
The new rules will only allow rents to increase once per year, and the minimum notice landlords must provide, of any change in rent, will be extended to two months.
The government will also end the use of rent review clauses, which will prevent tenants being locked into automatic rent increases that are vague or do not reflect the market.
A single new Ombudsman will also be introduced to help strengthen tenants' ability to hold their landlord to account and help resolve disputes out of court.
No more blanket bans
The government says that everyone should have access to safe and secure housing, regardless of whether they are in receipt of benefits or have children.
Under the new plans, it will become illegal for landlords or agents to have blanket bans on renting to families with children or those who receive benefits.
The reforms should also make it easier for pet owners. Landlords will no longer be able to "unreasonably" refuse a tenant's request to have a pet in their home, and in cases where they do, tenants will be able to challenge the decision.
As part of the plans, the government will also introduce a new property portal, which will provide a 'front door' for landlords to understand their responsibilities and for tenants to access information about their landlord's compliance.
In 2020-2021, the private rented sector accounted for 4.4m - around 19pc - of all households. Mr Gove says he hopes the reforms "will help to ease the financial burden on renters, reducing moving costs and emergency repair bills" and re-setting the tenant-landlord relationship by making sure that complaints are acted upon and resolved quickly.