The Renters Reform Bill – Everything Residential Landlords Need to Know
The Renters Reform Bill was introduced in England in March 2021 and it is set to make a huge impact on the UK’s rental market. As a residential landlord, it is essential that you understand the bill and what changes it brings, as failure to comply may see you facing steep fines or even criminal charges.
The Purpose of the Renters Reform Bill
The Renters Reform Bill was designed to strengthen tenant’s rights in the UK, reducing their vulnerability and improving their quality of life while living in private rented accommodation. According to the UK government’s website, the bill has three primary aims:
1. To improve rental conditions and stability
2. To ensure tenants’ rights are respected
3. To make the sector fairer
The Bill looks to do this by introducing new legislation, amending existing legislation, and outlawing old practices.
The Biggest Changes the Renters Reform Bill brings
The Renters Reform Bill amends and introduces a number of new pieces of legislation and regulations. Here, we will take a look at some of the biggest changes.
No More ‘No Fault’ Evictions
One of the biggest changes made by the bill is the outlawing of ‘no fault’ evictions. Under the new regulations, landlords can no longer evict tenants without good reason; they must first give their tenant an explanation as to why they are being evicted, as well as a certain period of notice. This allows tenants more time to appeal any eviction decision, as well as find new accommodation.
The Renters Reform Bill has also introduced minimum tenancy lengths, meaning that landlords can no longer offer shorter than three-year tenancy agreements. Landlords must also now offer tenants the option to extend their tenancy agreement at the end of the agreed period. This is designed to give tenants more security in their accommodation, knowing that they are not likely to suddenly have to leave in six months’ time.
Ending Unfair Fees
Under the new bill, all rent-related fees must now be included in the rent amount. This means that landlords can no longer charge additional fees for things such as renewing a tenancy agreement or for utilities. Landlords must also clearly explain all costs involved in their tenancy agreements. This is designed to ensure that tenants are not taken advantage of by unscrupulous landlords.
Implications for Landlords in the UK
These changes all have implications for landlords in the UK. While the regulations introduce certain protections for tenants, they also place certain restrictions on landlords. As such, landlords will have to adjust their practices in order to comply with the new regulations, or risk hefty fines or even criminal charges.
One of the biggest implications of the Renters Reform Bill is the end of ‘no fault’ evictions. This means that, in the event that a landlord wishes to evict a tenant, they must first give their tenant a valid reason and give them a certain amount of notice. This means that landlords must be more aware of the terms of their tenancy agreements, as well as their tenants’ behaviour.
The bill also introduces minimum tenancy lengths, as well as giving tenants the option to extend their tenancy agreement. This means that landlords must be prepared for tenants to stay for longer than originally agreed, and must be aware of how long tenants have been in their accommodation when choosing to evict them.
Finally, landlords must also be aware of the end of unfair fees. This means that all costs associated with tenancy agreements must be included in the rent amount and that tenants must be clearly informed of all costs. It also means that landlords can no longer charge for utilities or for renewing tenancy agreements.
Risks of Non-Compliance
Failure to comply with the regulations set out in the Renters Reform Bill could have serious consequences for landlords. The bill provides tenants with a number of new rights and protections, and landlords must respect these rights or risk hefty fines or even criminal charges. The government has made it clear that they will not tolerate landlords taking advantage of tenants and that they will investigate any allegations of non-compliance.
UK Government. (2021). Tenants’ Rights: New Reforms. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tenants-rights-new-reforms
Renters Reform Bill. (2021). https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2021/9/contents/enacted