Renters' Reform Bill lacks vital detail, warn landlords
After many months of waiting, the Government today published the long-awaited Renter Reform Bill - the biggest shake-up of the private rented sector in several decades.
The Bill announces that the following proposals will be brought before Parliament:
- Landlords will now no longer be able to take back possession of rental properties using Section 21;
- A new Ombudsman will be set up to settle disputes and relieve pressure on the court system.
- Alongside these proposals, a digital Property Portal to better inform landlords and tenants of their rights and obligations will also be established.
- Tenants will be granted the legal right to request that a pet be allowed to stay in their rental property.
Following close consultation with the NRLA, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) has taken into account several of the organisation's proposals in the drafting of this legislation.
These include a commitment from the Government that they will focus on helping landlords deal with anti-social tenants or tenants refusing to pay rent. Likewise, DLUHC has also taken on board NRLA proposals to improve the speed of court possession hearings through digital platforms. As a result of NRLA campaigning, councils will also be forced to report on the extent to which they are enforcing regulations designed to root out rogue and criminal landlords from the sector.
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “Responsible landlords need to be confident that when Section 21 ends, where they have a legitimate reason, they will be able to repossess their properties as quickly as possible. Without this assurance, the Bill will only exacerbate the rental housing supply crisis many tenants now face.
“Whilst we welcome the Government’s pledge to ensure landlords can effectively recover properties from anti-social tenants and those failing to pay rent, more detail is needed if the Bill is going to work as intended.
“Ministers must develop a plan to improve the speed and efficiency with which the courts process possession claims. Although the Government has accepted NRLA calls to digitise cases, staff numbers need to increase in the court system as well to meet the needs of these reforms.
“Likewise, the Government must recognise the serious concerns of landlords letting to students about open-ended tenancies. Without the ability to plan around the academic year, students will have no certainty that properties will be available to rent when they need them.
“We will continue to work with the Government, MPs, and Peers to ensure the Bill is workable and fair to both responsible landlords and tenants.”