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What is the Renters’ Reform Bill and what could it mean for tenants?

This week, the government introduced its Renters’ Reform Bill to parliament, which lays out more details of its plans for the new legislation.

Back in June 2022, the government announced the new bill for England, aimed at protecting private rented sector tenants. It was brought about to ensure all private renters are able to access safe and secure living accommodation. But since the announcement last year, publication of the draft bill has been repeatedly delayed.

The newly published bill sets out a 12-point plan that the government sees as areas of improvement for the private rented sector. These include abolishing Section 21 evictions (also known as ‘no fault’ evictions), only allowing rent increases once per year, and making it illegal for landlords to have blanket bans on renting to people with pets.

Other pledges include the introduction of a Private Renters’ Ombudsman, and a requirement for homes to meet the Decent Homes Standard.

The publication of the bill takes the measures a step closer to being passed through parliament.

So, how long will it take for the bill to be passed and become law?

In short, we don’t know quite how long it could take for the bill to become law, as that depends on how long it takes to be passed through parliament. But it’s worth noting that it’s a large piece of legislation, that will need to go through the full parliamentary process.

Why is the Renters’ Reform Bill being introduced?

Though the majority of tenants enjoy living in safe rentals that provide them with a secure home environment, this bill aims to protect tenants who currently live in unfit homes.

It will also aim to standardise rental conditions, to ensure that tenants all have access to safe homes, that meet certain conditions.

How could the Renters’ Reform Bill help tenants?

Currently, Section 21 evictions result in tenants needing to find a new home, often at short notice, which can mean high moving costs, and unnecessary upheaval.

The Decent Homes Standard will now be enforced in the private rental market, which means that homes must meet certain health and safety standards, with facilities kept in a good, useable condition.

The bill will also make it easier for tenants to challenge things like unjustified rent increases, and obtain refunds for poor quality living accommodation.

These reforms are designed to ease the cost-of-living pressures families are facing, and improve conditions for the entire rental sector.

How could the Renters’ Reform Bill affect landlords?

The majority of landlords are responsible, and provide safe and secure accommodation for their tenants.

However, for those that do not, increased penalties will be put in place, and councils will have more powers to challenge landlords who do not meet their obligations.

There will also be measures in place to protect landlords, and the bill will make it easier for landlords to claim back their property under certain circumstances. For example, when a landlord finds themselves with a tenant who’s engaging in antisocial behaviour.

A new Ombudsman and property website for the rental market

The Private Renters’ Ombudsman will also be introduced as part of the bill, which will aim to settle disputes between landlords and renters quickly, and at a low cost.

A new website will also be accessible by landlords, tenants and local councils. This will help parties understand their rights and responsibilities when they’re either renting out a home or a tenant living in a rented home, and strengthen local councils’ enforcement powers in dealing with criminal landlords.

Read our guides to finding a property to rent and managing your tenancy

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