Manifesto promises have been made, rumours have been rife, but the Queen’s Speech today confirmed that new measures are being introduced to make big changes the private rented sector. Housing is devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so these changes will only impact landlords and tenants in England.
What are the plans?
The Renters Reform Bill has been designed to introduce a ‘package of reforms to deliver a fairer and more effective rental market’, with an emphasis on:
- Improving security for tenants in the rental sector, delivering greater protection for tenants and empowering them to hold their landlord to account.
- Strengthening the rights of landlords who need to gain possession of their property when they have a valid reason to do so.
- Improving the experience of those living in the private rental sector and the affordability for tenants when moving from one tenancy to the next by introducing a new lifetime deposit.
- Improving standards in rented accommodation, driving out rogue landlords and helping to professionalise the sector, with all tenants having a right to redress if their rented properties are not safe and healthy.
- Professionalise letting agents, to the benefit of tenants and landlords.
The main points
There are a few key elements to the bill, which could see major changes within the rental industry. One of the most notable, which has been a talking point amongst landlords, tenants and politicians for years, is the confirmation that no-fault evictions via Section 21 will be abolished. This will mean removing Section 21 from the Housing Act 1988 and reforming the grounds for possession.
Further to this change, another major reform is to the remaining possession legislation, Section 8. The act notes that landlords will be granted more rights to gain possession of their property through the courts when there is a legitimate need for them to do so, and a reform of the current legislation will be undertaken to facilitate this (you can read more about the current legislation and process here). A pledge has been made that the current court process will be improved, making the possession procedure simpler and faster, so landlords can regain possession of their property sooner should they need to under new legislation.
The government are also looking to introduce a new lifetime deposit scheme, enabling tenants to ‘port’ their deposit with them from property to property, only having to supply one deposit and transferring it to the next property when they move.
Whilst a transferable deposit would alleviate the pressure tenants face with regards to finding a deposit whilst their funds are still tied up in an existing property, raising a deposit in the first place is still a big ask for many. Here at Howsy we’ve turned the idea of deposits on their head with Howsy Club, a revolutionary scheme designed to remove the need for up-front funds from tenants, whilst still providing peace of mind and protection for landlords. You can find out more here.