Rental Reform under a Labour government
With a general election set to take place within the next year, The Private Rental Sector may be wondering how a change in power could affect the Renter’s Reform bill.
The current main reforms in the bill:
- Abolishment of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions
- Strengthening of grounds for possession under Section 8
- Appointment of a private rented sector Ombudsman
- Private Rented Sector Portal
What could change?
Both Conservative and Labour seem to agree on these main requirements for rental reform, therefore regardless of who wins the election, letting agents should expect these to be implemented.
However, Labour members of the levelling up committee raised a number of amendments during the committee stage, which could indicate the direction of travel in the event of a change in government.
Therefore, based on the amendments raised, if Labour were to form a new government, we could expect changes to:
- The timing of implementation
- Which possession grounds would be mandatory
- The length of certain notices.
Timing of Implementation
Currently, the government is not going to immediately abolish Section 21 notices. This is because of concerns expressed regarding the ability of the court system to effectively deal with the change. There are plans to modernise the court system to make this change easier.
However, if Labour were to win the election, this plan may change. Labour could place a greater importance on removing Section 21 over court reform. This could prove to be crucial to how effective possession proceedings may become once the bill is enacted.
Mandatory Possession Grounds
New mandatory grounds to be added to Section 8 notices include: landlord selling or moving a family member into the property, persistent rent arrears, and a ground to be used in student HMOs.
Based on the proposed amendments by Labour, there could be changes to how these grounds are implemented. For example, during the committee stage, it was proposed that the ground for selling or moving a family member into a property cannot be used during the first two years of a tenancy (rather than six months).
Length of Notices
A new Labour government may alter the notice periods of these new mandatory grounds. For example, where a landlord wishes to sell, or move a family member into the home, the current proposed notice period is two months. However, indications are that Labour may suggested an amendment to change this to four months and this may result in a new government increasing the notice periods for other grounds as well.
Depending on who wins the general election, how the reforms are implemented may differ, and the proposed amendments from Labour suggest implementation of the bill under their administration may be tilted more towards the tenant’s interests.
This content was exclusively prepared in collaboration with The Lettings Hub by award-winning Woodstock Legal Services.
Woodstock Legal Services are specialists in legal advice and solutions for the Private Rental Sector.
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