First proposed in April 2019, the Renters’ (Reform) Bill aims to improve conditions and rights for millions in the private and socially rented sector.
It was introduced to Parliament in May 2023 and is hailed as a “once-in-a-generation reform that will deliver safer, fairer and higher quality homes.”
If you’re a renter or landlord, read on to see how these changes may affect you.
What’s in the Renters' (Reform) Bill?
The Renters (Reform) Bill includes major changes that’ll positively impact private and social renters and landlords.
Here’s a quick overview of what’s in the legislation:
- a ban on Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, protecting tenants from dishonest landlords while strengthening landlords’ legitimate grounds for taking back their property
- a single system of periodic tenancies so tenants can move more easily if their circumstances change or leave poor quality homes without rent liability
- doubling rent increase notice periods so tenants have longer to challenge if unjustified
- outlawing 'blanket bans' by landlords or agents on renting to people receiving benefits or families with children
- tenants can request having a pet in the home and landlords can't “unreasonably refuse”
- the Decent Homes Standard* will be extended to the private renting sector, giving all renters the legal right to a safe and warm home
- creation of a new Private Renters’ Ombudsman to settle disputes between private renters and landlords at low cost and without going to court
- introduction of a property portal to help landlords understand their obligations and give tenants performance information to hold their landlord to account
*the Decent Home Standard review will consider how to define decency, and it should be published in late 2022.
What is the Section 21 notice?
Under current UK law, landlords can give a Section 21 notice to evict tenants within two months without providing a reason.
While a contracted tenancy may protect you until the end of your fixed term end date, it still leaves many renters without security. In fact, 22% of those who moved in the past year didn’t end their tenancy by choice.
The end of Section 21 notices will help save families an estimated £1,400 in moving costs.
How can landlords evict rule-breaking tenants?
The Renters (Reform) Bill will strengthen the Section 8 notice, which lets landlords evict tenants who’ve broken their tenancy terms.
Strengthening landlords' grounds for repossession will allow easier evictions for tenants who are wilfully engaging in antisocial behaviour or not paying rent.
What about social renters?
The Social Housing Regulation Bill will be introduced for social renters, with regular rigorous inspections and stronger powers to tackle failings by social housing landlords.
The Social Housing Regulation Bill will:
- give the Regulator stronger powers to enforce action if they see failings by social housing landlords
- place an expectation on social landlords to place tenants’ concerns at the heart of all they do, with effective resident engagement in place, so no one has to live in sub-standard social housing
- give greater transparency for tenants on how their landlord is performing, how their homes are managed and who’s responsible for compliance with health and safety requirements
- strengthen the economic regulation of the social housing sector, increasing protections for tenants’ homes and supporting continued investment in the new supply of social housing