Insights for Landlords

Introduced in a first reading in May 2023, the Renters Reform Bill is legislation that seeks to instil a new set of rules for tenants and landlords to stick to. While the bill isn’t yet in place, it’s a good idea to get clued up on what it is, what changes it will introduce, and when it is likely to pass.


What is the Renters Reform Bill?

The Renters Reform Bill is a new piece of UK legislation that makes various changes to the private letting sector. The changes range from allowing tenants to keep pets, to abolishing no fault evictions.

Has the Renters Reform Bill been passed?

The Renters Reform Bill has been discussed in the houses of parliament for some time and, while it’s not yet ready to enter legislation, it does propose a fair few amendments to the law. In its current state, the bill is nearing a final draft. However, it is quite a way off being finalised as there are lots of amendments that need to be made, especially due to the number of references it makes to older legislation. As a landlord, there are some key changes worth knowing about.

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Key changes in the Renters Reform Bill


Abolishing Section 21 evictions

Perhaps the most high profile of changes brought about by the Renters Reform Bill is the abolishment of section 21 evictions. This means that landlords must go through a different process if they wish to evict their tenants, with ‘no fault evictions’, i.e. evicting a tenant without giving a reason, no longer being permitted.


No more fixed term tenancies

Fixed term and assured short-hold tenancies (ASTs) have been under the radar for some time. These types of tenancy agreements are seen to put the tenant in an unstable situation, especially for students. The Government claims that getting rid of such agreements will make for a more secure rental process.

Getting rid of ASTs and fixed term tenancies can give tenants the legal power to move out of their accommodation without being locked into a minimum period. This can be useful if the living conditions for the property are not as advertised, or if a relocation needs to occur.

Instead of ASTs, tenants will be allowed to take out an assured tenancy instead. Any ASTs or fixed term tenancies that have not been manually converted into an assured tenancy will automatically be changed as such 18 months after the bill comes into force.


Changes to increasing rent

There are currently a few ways that a landlord can increase rent. But, the Renters Reform Bill aims to change this so that there’s one process that everyone follows.

To raise rent, landlords need to fill out an amended version of the Section 13 form. This form must then be given to a tenant within 2 months of the increase. Tenants then have two options: they can either agree to the rental increase, and continue with their tenancy, or they can dispute the increase through a tribunal.

If a tenant wishes to dispute the rent increase, they must come equipped with information that explains that the increase would take the rental payments above average market value; and are therefore unsubstantiated.

In addition to all of this, landlords will only be able to raise rent once every year. This is currently the case for periodic tenancies, so for anyone currently in one of those, the changes won’t be as drastic.


New rules around pets

For a long time, landlords have had the ability to choose if their tenant can keep pets in the property, however Section 7 of the Renters Reform Bill claims that landlords are not permitted to refuse the tenant the ability to have a pet for any unreasonable excuse.

In addition to this change, such an action means that a tenant can make a complaint about their landlord if they feel their request to keep a pet has been refused for said unreasonable excuse. There are likely to be cases where a tenant does have a reasonable excuse, but these need to be backed up logically and with the right cause.

For example, if a tenant wishes to keep a particularly large dog in an apartment with just a balcony for outdoor space, the landlord could claim that the pet is too large for the living arrangements, and therefore refuse.

Discriminatory changes

Some landlords currently don’t allow their properties to be let by recipients of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits, or by people who have children. Under the Renters Reform Bill, such a thing will be deemed as discriminatory, and therefore no longer permitted.

As a result, landlords will be obliged to accept rental applications from all individuals.


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