The aim of the proposals are to improve rental home standards in line with those of social housing.
In 2010, a claimed 1.4 million privately rented homes fell below adequate living standards. This figure accounted for 37% of the total homes being let in the UK. The figure has fallen steadily since to approximately 1 million homes today (21% of the total) according to the English Housing Survey (2020 to 2021). This implies that more than 1.6 million people are living in dangerously low-quality accommodation, in varying degrees of disrepair, often with cold, damp, and mould present and without functioning bathrooms and kitchens.
What are the implications for landlords?
- Landlords will become subject to the Decent Homes Standard, currently applied in the social renting sector. Properties will have to be refurbished and be well maintained before they can be rented, i.e temperature control issues would have to be eliminated and mould removed.
- Section 21 to be removed. The so-called 'no fault' Section 21 evictions that allow landlords to terminate tenancies without giving any reason will soon be outlawed.
- Furry friends will be permitted by default. Pets could only be excluded, where requested, if there are reasonable grounds to refuse consent. The flip side is, tenants will be obliged to cover the cost of any damage made by their pets.
- Better quality homes will be available to more tenants.
- There will be more freedom to move to a new property, as the tenancies would be more flexible and allow tenants to end their tenancies ahead of schedule. Additionally, the bill may introduce “passport deposits”, which will remove the need for tenants to have to front a second deposit to rent something new.
- Tenants will be able to challenge excessive rent increases through an Ombudsman and ultimately fine landlords up to £25,000.
Whilst in the post, Michael Gove claimed the Renters’ Reform Bill will be brought forward in this parliamentary session, recent upheaval in Government may see delays. Incumbent Greg Clark may still see the Renters’ Reform Bill debated and voted on before the end of this year.