Renters Reform Bill Expected

Published: 04/05/2023 By Allan Fuller

The Secretary of State Michael Gove has confirmed that we will see the long-awaited Renters Reform Bill next week. 

The Bill is expected to have a wide range of reforms including the much-publicised abolition of Section 21 eviction powers for landlords, and an apparent strengthening of Section 8 eviction powers, probably a mandatory landlord register and the introduction of a Decent Homes Standard for the private sector akin to that operating for social housing providers now.

The Bill was first mooted in 2019 and the government has had substantial criticism from activist groups for its slowness at introducing it into Parliament.

The details of the Bill will reveal which measures, if any, can be introduced into law at short notice and which may require primary legislation, which takes up to a year to get through Parliament.

Draconian legislation that heavily penalised landlords in the 1960’s effectively killed this vital sector. Tenants could stay for life, and the right to remain passed to close relations, rents were set at levels too low for landlords to maintain the property so there was virtually no property available  to rent. If tenants did move out the properties were sold, never to return to the rental market.
 
It was not until 1988 when Assured Shorthold Tenancies were introduced which  brought a total reversal of the situation. This revolution meant that people bought property as a long term investment helped by the introduction of the Buy to Let Mortgage. Many viewed their purchase as an eventual form of the rent being an additional  pension income. Most  just have one or two properties and contrary to popular belief ensured the property is  in excellent condition. They know that good property gets good tenants paying a fair rent. Certainly, for the over 400 properties that we let for our clients this is very much the case.  

What we must have in the legislation is a simplification of the law that creates a situation fair to tenants and landlords.  It must penalising rogue landlords and rouge tenants as well as ensuring  that rental accommodation is at a certain habitable standard, and that property owners can get vacant possession for legitimate reasons.
 
If this can be the result then we can have a thriving private Rental sector which is a vital ingredient of not only a fair and successful residential housing market, but also a successful economy which needs  have readily available social housing, an active and fair Private Rental Sector, as well as the 300,000 new homes that each government promises, but always fails to deliver.