Renters Reform Bill

Published: 06/05/2024 By Allan Fuller

The government's Renters (Reform) Bill has been proceeding at a snail’s pace through the Parliamentary process, recently it passed its third reading in the House of Commons and now goes back to the House of Lords for further scrutiny. 

One of the things it is designed to ensure is that rental property conforms to a good standard, which is highly desirable. In fact, the vast majority of landlords want to provide good quality property so that they are far more likely to attract good tenants paying a fair market rent.
 
Landlords who do not properly maintain their property should have the full force of the law imposed upon then to rectify all faults in their property.
 
Where there is a difficulty is in the original proposal to remove Section 21, this is the so-called, no-fault evection.
 
Time for a short history lesson. The principal of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement that was introduced in 1988 was that when the landlord required vacant possession of a rented property provided notice was given in a legally determined way, in accordance with the tenancy agreement the tenant had to move out.
 
Prior to this legislation there was virtually no PRS. When my business was started in 1983 no estate agent locally, and virtually none in this county dealt with rental property, simply because it did not exist to any worthwhile degree. The introduction of Assured Shorthold Tenancies revolutionised the entire housing market ensuring that we have the three vital parts of a functioning housing system, subsidised social housing, a private rental sector, and home ownership.
 
We need far more housing in each sector not less.
 
Introduction of the Buy to Let mortgage has been a vast success, encouraging investment into property. Many people bought flats with cash or a mortgage as a form of a pension for them in the future. A perfect win-win, providing rented accommodation for those that need it, and for the property owner an added pension as well as expectation of owning an appreciating asset.
 
Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark has said: “The Renters (Reform) Bill has been strengthened since it was first introduced but still misses the mark in providing the right level of fairness and flexibility for landlords and tenants and improved competency standards for letting agents. “It is disappointing that the UK Government continue to not recognise the benefit of allowing tenants and landlords to enter a fixed term tenancy where it is mutually beneficial to both parties. This will impact large parts of the market including students who rent.

“The legislation as a whole must help to increase the supply of homes to rent and not reduce the number, so Propertymark will continue to push for measures as the Bill goes to the House of Lords.

"It is important that it maintains the flexibility and choice that the private rented sector has provided over recent decades. The consequences of not doing so would be detrimental to landlords, tenants and agents alike.”