If you’ve been following the progress of rental reforms, you will have come across the Renters Reform Bill in parliament. But what exactly does this bill entail, and how long will it take for these reforms to be implemented? In this blog post, we will delve into the key aspects of the Renters Reform Bill and discuss its timeline for becoming law.
Understanding the Renters Reform Bill:
The Renters Reform Bill encompasses several important elements that landlords and agents need to be aware of. One significant change is the abolishment of Section 21, landlords will need to use Section 8 to regain possession of their property, which will also undergo an overhaul to grant landlords more power in regaining possession.
The bill also addresses the issue of pet ownership, allowing tenants to keep pets with the landlord’s consent within 42 days of the request. Landlords will not be able to unreasonably refuse consent, but tenants must have pet insurance, providing protection for landlords and grounds for refusal if insurance is not provided.
The bill emphasises the decent homes standard, aiming to tackle privately rented properties that pose risks to tenants’ health and welfare. Local councils will have increased power to enforce this standard under the new bill. Additionally, discrimination against tenants on benefits or with children will be prohibited by law.
Another significant change introduced by the bill is the end of fixed-term tenancies, with assumed periodic tenancies becoming the norm. Landlords attempting to create fixed-term tenancies will face penalties.
Timeline for Passing the Bill:
As of May 2023, the bill is being discussed by the House of Commons. However, both the House of Lords and the House of Commons will need to debate, examine, and propose changes to the draft. After several rounds of parliamentary “ping pong,” the two houses will agree on the proposed changes, and the bill will be ready for royal assent.
Typically, it takes around a year for a bill to become a parliamentary act. Acts generally become law on either April 1st or October 1st of each year. Therefore, it can be expected that the Renters Reform Bill will become law on October 1st, 2024, following royal assent.
Potential Delays and Impact on the Student Housing Market:
The Rental Reform Bill, if passed as it stands, could significantly impact the student housing market. The inability to guarantee fixed-term agreements to students may create uncertainty for both tenants and landlords. Landlords may face difficulties in finding new tenants if current ones give notice during the academic year. Proposed changes to exempt student landlords have been suggested, and the extent of these potential changes is eagerly anticipated.
While the Renters Reform Bill may appear to favour tenants at first glance, there are provisions in place to prevent them from having absolute power. The revised Section 8, for example, grants landlords more repossession powers. In many cases, the bill’s potential effects may be less severe than initially anticipated, as tenants may not be financially capable of frequently changing properties. Ultimately, the Renters Reform Bill aims to foster cooperation between tenants and landlords and ensure better quality rental properties for tenants.