Jonathan Leach, our head of Dispute Resolution and director specializing in housing and property law, is pleased to highlight the significant changes brought about by the recently released Renter’s Reform Bill 2023. These changes mark a major shift in the rental landscape, offering enhanced protections and improved clarity for both tenants and landlords. The Renter’s Reform Bill 2023 introduces several proposed amendments to existing legislation, aiming to create a fairer and more balanced rental market. The bill addresses various aspects of tenancy agreements, including the abolishment of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) regime and the removal of Section 21 notices, which will fundamentally transform the way landlords can terminate tenancies. The key changes outlined in the Renter’s Reform Bill 2023 are as follows:
- Abolishment of AST regime and Section 21 notices: The AST regime will be discontinued, providing tenants with greater security of tenure and removing the reliance on Section 21 notices for eviction.
- Extended notice period for Section 8 notices: Section 8 notices, specifically for rental arrears (grounds 8, 10, and 11), must now be served with a four-week notice period, ensuring tenants have sufficient time to address outstanding arrears.
- Prescribed form for Section 8 notices: Section 8 notices will now require a prescribed form, simplifying the process and promoting consistency across all notices.
- Streamlined procedure for rent increases: A new procedure for rent increases will be implemented, offering a clear framework and greater transparency for both tenants and landlords.
- Right to request permission for a pet: Tenants will have the right to request permission to keep a pet, encouraging more pet-friendly rental accommodations.
- Mandatory insurance for pet-related damage: Landlords will have the option to request mandatory insurance coverage for pet-related damage to protect their property, ensuring responsible pet ownership.
- Prohibition of certain forms of tenant notices to quit: Tenant notices to quit will be subject to specific written form requirements, preventing potential confusion or disputes.
- Impact of tenancy deposit breaches on possession claims: Tenancy deposit breaches will now directly impact Section 8 possession claims, reinforcing the importance of complying with deposit protection regulations.
- Strengthened penalties for harassing tenants: New penalties will be introduced to address instances of tenant harassment, providing stronger protections for tenants against such behaviour.
- Introduction of a mandatory ombudsman scheme: A mandatory ombudsman scheme will be established, ensuring an accessible avenue for resolving disputes between tenants and landlords.
- Creation of a database of landlords and rental properties: A comprehensive database of landlords and rental properties will be established, promoting transparency and accountability within the rental sector.
- Expanded rights of possession for landlords: Landlords will have expanded rights to possession for use by relatives or for sale/redevelopment purposes, allowing for more flexibility in managing their properties.
- New mandatory ground of possession for persistent late payers: A mandatory ground of possession will be introduced for tenants with a record of persistent late payment, promoting timely rental payments and encouraging financial responsibility.
At Watson Ramsbottom we will monitor these important changes to the law as they make their way through Parliament. Whilst they aim to create a more balanced rental market and provide greater security and clarity for both tenants and landlords we await feedback from our own clients on their expected effect. Our dedicated team of housing and property law experts is ready to assist clients in navigating these new regulations and ensuring compliance.