The Renters Reform Bill has been a hot topic in the media over the past few months. With the many changes and constant reviews, you may question what this new legislation means for you. Not to worry, at Glowsure, we have been keeping up-to-date with the various changes and, as always, are here to help you.
The Renters Reform Bill is changing how buy-to-let landlords manage their properties. It aims to simplify tenancy agreements, challenge poor practices and ultimately create better transparency in the private rented sector.
This article looks into the changes made to the new Renters Reform Bill and how this can impact you as a buy-to-let landlord in the private rented sector. Keep reading to understand more about how you can contribute to a fairer private rented sector.
At Glowsure, we work effortlessly to help you find the best insurance deals on your rental property – at the best price! Whatever your insurance needs may be, our strong, experienced team are more than happy to help. Get in touch today for more information and a free quote.
What is the Renters Reform Bill?
The Renters Reform Bill is a new proposal that has been brought forward to Parliament to make essential changes to rental laws and set out a list of important rules and regulations for privately rented properties.
It will bring forth the reforms set out in the 2022 white paper “A Fairer Private Rented Sector.” This new legislation encourages more decent rented homes for tenants living in privately rented accommodation.
It also touches on social housing; however, we are focusing on what this new bill means for landlords in the private rental sector. This includes making private renting fairer, encouraging positive change, creating better communication between all parties and ensuring everyone knows their rights.
So, what does the Renters Reform Bill include? How can landlords begin to adapt to the Renters Reform Bill? And what does this mean for landlords and tenants in the private rented sector?
Overview of the Renters Reform Bill
- No blanket bans on people who have children or receive benefits
- Scrap ‘no fault evictions’
- Improves possession grounds for private landlords
- Increased rights for pet owners
- Implement minimum housing standards
- New property portal
- Longer notice period for evictions
What does the Renters Reform Bill mean for landlords in the private rented sector?
The Renters Reform Bill may sound complicated for landlords in the private rented sector, especially with the various revisions. Essentially the Renters Reform Bill aims to support both tenants and landlords by readjusting the rights and responsibilities in the private rental sector.
This means that landlords and tenants alike will have a clear understanding of what they must do in order to be compliant. Keep reading to find out in more detail what is included and how you can begin to adapt to the new bill.
Joining a government-approved ombudsman
The private renters’ ombudsman will ease pressure on the court system by allowing landlords and tenants to settle disputes fairly and impartially. Types of disputes may include disruptive tenants, repeated rent arrears, or safety hazards in privately rented homes.
While change isn’t always easy, this new ombudsman will benefit landlords as it allows them to settle disputes in a much quicker and cost-efficient way.
You may be wondering if it is mandatory to join the ombudsman. Well, it would be best practice for good landlords to sign up, as it supports everyone involved in the tenancy agreement. You can certainly save time and costs by following these government guidelines and having the most suitable insurance policy for your property.
In addition to the ombudsman, a new property portal will also be set up to act as a place for tenants and landlords to collate and receive accurate and up-to-date information about their rental property.
Having this information in one place not only benefits the people involved but also acts as a database for local councils to ensure that private landlords are compliant. This will enable local authorities to crack down on criminal landlords.
No fault evictions
The Reform Bill will also ban section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions which currently allows landlords to evict tenants without providing reasonable circumstances. Scrapping this bill will enable tenants to live without the uncertainty and stress of potentially losing their homes.
All fixed-term tenancies will be moved to periodic tenancies, which are rolling contracts with no end date. Periodic tenancies are beneficial for being flexible, helping landlords gain repossession of their property (providing legitimate reasoning) or should a tenant wish to move out.
Tenants may choose to end the contract at any given time for any reason, provided that they offer two months’ notice. This notice period is to prevent houses from being vacant for long periods and allows time for landlords to plan costs and begin looking for new tenants.
The new bill will also reduce the impacts of the minority of unethical landlords, easing the burden on responsible landlords who may need to repossess their property for justified reasons.
No blanket bans
An additional change to the bill includes prohibiting ‘blanket bans’ on prospective tenants who have children or receive benefits. This means that landlords won’t be able to unreasonably refuse tenancy to people from these categories.
Removing blanket bans will help protect vulnerable groups and create more equal opportunities in the rental market.
Another proposed reform that has caught people’s attention is the changes to rent increases. Currently, people living in private rental housing may face unpredictable rent increases throughout their tenancy, with little time to prepare for costs.
With the new agreement in place, landlords will have to provide at least two months’ notice when making changes to rent and can review rent no more than once per year.
Having landlords and tenants understand when changes to rent payments may occur may also help reduce the impact of tenants being in rent arrears, as they will have more time to plan around increases.
Consent to pets
Renters will also be able to request that a pet be allowed to stay in their rented property.
While many people may be happy to hear that they might just be able to have their furry friend join them in their new accommodation, it could leave you worrying about what this means for your property and what will be covered by your insurance.
Now, it is important to note that should your tenants have a pet living with them, they are the ones who have a responsibility to cover costs. This is great for multiple reasons. It encourages responsible animal guardianship and provides private landlords with security and peace of mind.
To learn more about damage to property and insurance policies, read our guide to learn what insurance you need as a landlord.
Additional tenant fees may be an option if you are worried about the effects of having a pet in your home. This could go towards pet insurance to cover you from any pet-related damage to your property.
Stay compliant with the right landlord insurance with Glowsure
At Glowsure, we are here to support you with your property insurance needs, whatever they may be.
Take a look at our buy-to-let insurance services to see how we can help you protect your property assets and retain income in the event of a claim. Or contact us today and get a free quote!
How to prepare for and adapt to the Renters Reform Bill
In summary, the Renters Reform Bill represents a set of rules and regulations to help improve living conditions for people living in private rented homes. It also covers some aspects of the social rented sector.
It benefits everyone involved in the tenancy agreement by helping landlords manage their properties effectively, encouraging better communication between landlords and tenants, and increasing the benefits that privately rented accommodation offers.
Landlords will have plenty of time to adapt before the new legislation comes into force. The government has proposed that the bill will come into force in two stages, with an initial six-month notice period and 12 months’ notice between stages.
Looking for more information about private renting? Read our previous article Can your tenants ask to see your landlord insurance policy?