On 17th May 2023, the Renters (Reform) Bill was introduced to Parliament which set out the proposed reforms to the legislation governing the private rental sector. If passed, the changes are going to have a significant impact on the conduct of tenancies and how they can be brought to an end.
The key changes proposed are summarised below.
An Abolition of ‘No-Fault Evictions’
It is proposed that landlords will no longer be allowed to give notice to their tenants without having to provide a reason by using a notice under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.
It is intended that any Section 21 Notices served ahead of the commencement of the legislation will remain valid until such time as proceedings in relation to them have concluded or the time limit has expired for bringing proceedings in reliance upon them.
Amendments to Grounds for Possession under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988
The new bill proposes to amend the existing grounds for possessions to Grounds for Possession under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988on in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 whilst also adding additional grounds for reliance by landlords, including:
a. A landlord will be able to seek possession if the tenancy has existed for a period in excess of 6 months and they require the property back either to occupy themselves or to house a member of their close family.
b. A landlord will be able to seek possession on the grounds that they intend to sell their property, subject to conditions.
c. If the tenant’s immediate landlord is not the superior landlord and a notice for possession has been served by the superior landlord then it would give the immediate landlord grounds to seek possession from the tenant.
d. A landlord will be able to seek possession of their property on the basis that they require the property back to house an agricultural worker or an employee in connection with their employment.
e. If a landlord is to provide supported accommodation then they will be able to seek possession if that support is no longer required, funding has been revoked, the property no longer meets the tenant’s needs or if the tenant has failed to engage with such services.
f. Where a tenancy has been granted for the purposes of assisting the local authority in compliance with its duties towards homeless individuals then the landlord will be able bring the tenancy to an end once they are notified that the tenancy is no longer required.
g. A landlord will be able to seek possession on the grounds that they are required to comply with enforcement action from the local housing authority.
h. Currently, a landlord can seek possession if there are two months’ or eight weeks’ rent outstanding. Whilst this ground will remain, a new ground is proposed where the landlord can seek possession if there are either two months’ or eight weeks’ rent outstanding on three separate occasions of more than a day in the three years preceding their notice.
The effect of these new grounds is to provide greater scope for landlords to obtain possession based on genuine grounds for possession in the absence of a no-fault eviction process.
In addition to the above, further keys changes proposed include the following:
a. A tenant will have a right to request permission to keep a pet in the rented property. Upon receipt of the tenant’s request, the landlord must give their consent unless there is a good reason to withhold it. If the landlord fails to give consent without good reason then a tenant may take their landlord to Court to obtain it. Whilst this appears onerous for a landlord, it is proposed that the landlord can make it a condition of their consent that the tenant be responsible for the cost of any damage that may be caused by the pet to limit the risk of any losses suffered as a result.
b. It is proposed that there should be a central database on which all landlords must be registered before they are able to let their properties, to includes details of both the landlord and their property.
c. It is also proposed that it is to be illegal for landlords to refuse a tenancy to any tenant who is in receipt of benefits or who has children.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether all of the proposed changes will be implemented or only a proportion but clearly whatever changes are made will transform the landscape of the rental market.
If you would like further advice in relation to the right to possession proceedings, please contact Louise Palmer on 01543 267231 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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