Might the Renters’ Reform Bill Enforce Stricter Measures Against Landlords?

2 months ago
Might the Renters’ Reform Bill Enforce Stricter Measures Against Landlords?

A new coalition has written to Michael Gove surrounding the Renters’ Reform Bill legislation, urging him to be tougher on landlords. What could these changes mean for landlords? A group of housing and renting organisations, including Shelter and Generation Rent, have urged Housing Secretary Michael Gove to strengthen the Renters’ Reform Bill. Forming the Renters Reform Coalition, the group insists Gove is “set to miss the opportunity to fix the crisis in private renting”, urging him to “face down vested interests”. The coalition want to see three key amendments to the Bill:

  • Landlords to give four-month notice periods when evicting tenants, rather than the current plan of two months.
  • Tenants to be protected from eviction for two years from the start of tenancy, as opposed to the current proposal of six months
  • Further restrictions on the threshold for landlords trying to evict tenants.

The letter says “Without these changes, the tenant’s experience post-reform will too often resemble the current situation: renters will continue to be subject to the threat of unfair evictions; they will continue to be subject to frequent, expensive moves; and they will continue to feel unable to challenge their landlords to demand that basic standards be met”.

What impact would these changes have on the private rental sector?

It’s clear that the coalition’s suggestions have the tenant’s best interest in mind, however, the changes fail to take into account that tougher legislation only threatens to drive landlords from the sector altogether. The highly contentious decision to abolish Section 21 evictions has left many landlords feeling disenfranchised, and by further restricting the ability to repossess the property they own, more landlords could look to sell. By punishing landlords (for providing the service tenants so desperately need in the current housing crisis), the Bill is likely to do more damage than good. Landlords leaving the market will only further exacerbate the supply and demand disparity in the sector, driving up rents and competition amongst tenants. What the sector desperately needs is to work with both landlords and tenants alike to find viable solutions to the issues facing the rental market. At a time when the market offers landlords prosperous opportunities to grow portfolios, with house prices and mortgage rates down, tenants stand to benefit from more property choice and less competition. The suggested amendments will see responsible, fair, and good landlords struggle down to the small number of disingenuous landlords who give the sector a bad name. Currently, plans to abolish Section 21 are on hold until reforms have been made to the court process. Once we have a further update on Section 21 and the wider Renters’ Reform Bill as a whole, we will let you know.

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