In 2019, there were discussions and a consultation in relation to a Renters Reform Bill that would give tenants more security and protection during their tenancy and also strengthen the repossession grounds for landlords.
The Renters Reform Bill would, in essence cover the following: –
- Abolish the current section 21 evictions, which would, in effect, remove the entire Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) regime, meaning all tenancies would revert back to Assured Tenancies.
a. Improve security for tenants who could then only be served with notice so long as there was a valid ground under S8.
b. Landlords would be unable to evict tenants at short notice and without a good reason.
c. Create open ended tenancies – which in turn would give tenants a greater peace of mind.
2. Strengthening repossession grounds for landlords with valid causes: –
a. There have been 3 new grounds suggested:
- Seeking possession where they need it for occupation by a family member – this would be a mandatory ground where the landlord has served prior notice and tenancy has been in place for 2 plus years.
- To sell the property – this again would be a mandatory ground where landlord has served prior notice and tenancy has been in place for 2 plus years.
- Amending ground 13 to allow landlord to gain possession where a tenant prevents them from maintaining legal safety standards – this would be a discretionary ground.
b. There was also discussion around reviewing the following grounds:
- Rent arrears
- Anti-social behaviour
- Domestic abuse
c. Another part to the consultation was to potentially allow the accelerated possession procedure to be used for all mandatory section 8 grounds.
3. Introduction of a lifetime deposit which would move with the tenant. This would mean, once a tenant has paid a deposit for their first private rented property, this deposit could then be ‘passported’ with them if they move and need to use a deposit on another property. This would be after any monies had been deducted for any repairs or arrears. Meaning tenants would have to top-up a deposit and not have to provide the whole deposit multiple times.
4. Improve standards in rented accommodation: –
a. Better enforcement on criminal landlords to give tenants and other landlords peace of mind.
b. Private landlords would be obliged to use a redress scheme which the tenants would have the right to use.
c. Potential creation of a ‘landlord register’.
Reviewing and passing the above Bill was put on hold due to the current pandemic but, on March 3rd 2021 the Housing Minister, Christopher Pincher confirmed the Renters Reform Bill will be brought forward once the urgencies of responding to the pandemic have passed. The Queen also confirmed in her speech in May 2021 the intention to abolish section 21 evictions and the intention to introduce new lifetime deposits.
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