The Renters Reform Bill (“the Bill”) is going to abolish “no fault” evictions, otherwise known as the issue of a section 21 notice, and amend the grounds on which Landlords can rely to obtain possession of their property from tenants. The main changes are as follows:
The Bill will bring an end to fixed term tenancies and all tenancies will be periodic meaning they will not have an end date. Tenants will be able to stay in their home until they decide to end the tenancy by giving 2 months’ notice to their Landlord. Alternatively, a landlord can serve notice provided they can evidence a ground for possession;
Section 21 notices will be abolished meaning that landlords will no longer be able to evict a tenant without reason;
A landlord will only be able to seek possession of their property from a tenant on the basis of specific mandatory and discretionary grounds.
Examples of mandatory grounds include;
a. Moving in to the property;
b. Selling the property;
c. Mortgage repossession;
d. Superior lease ending;
e. Possession by superior landlord;
g. Severe anti-social behaviour/criminal behaviour;
h. Serious rent arrears (2 months of arrears at the time of the notice and hearing) and;
i. Repeated rent arrears (three separate instances of 2 months of rent arrears over a 3 year period).
Examples of discretionary grounds include;
j. Any rent arrears;
k. Persistent arrears;
l. Breach of tenancy;
m. Deterioration of property;
n. Deterioration of furniture; and
o. Anti-social behaviour
Landlords cannot rely on the grounds for moving in, selling or redevelopment within the first six months of the tenancy;
Landlords can still serve Section 13 Notices to increase rent, however tenants will be able to refer rent increases that they consider to be excessive and above market to the First Tier Tribunal (this is to avoid the circumstance where rent is pushed up so high the tenant cannot afford it, the tenant falls into arrears and notice is served on the ground of unpaid rent);
A new Private Rented Sector Ombudsman will be created which will provide a quicker, cheaper and alternative method to the court system;
A new Privately Rented Property Portal service will be created. All landlords will be required to register with the portal and the service will provide access to up to date information about their responsibilities as a landlord; and
Tenants will have the right to ask the landlord if they can keep a pet in their property. Landlords must consider any such request and cannot unreasonably refuse consent. Landlords will be able to ask the tenants to pay for insurance to cover any damage to their property caused by the pet.
Please note that the above changes have not come into force yet, but it is likely the above changes will be approved.
We can assist with serving section 8 notices, section 21 notices and section 13 notices now and we will continue to serve possession notices and section 13 notices after the above changes have come into force.