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Landlords Face Further Challenges with Upcoming Renters Reform Bill, Solicitor Warns

Millions of landlords across the UK are poised to be negatively impacted by the forthcoming Renters Reform Bill, a piece of legislation intended to shield tenants from eviction from rental properties, warns a prominent solicitor.

The Renters Reform Bill, currently making its way through Parliament and anticipated to become law next year, will do away with the Section 21 notice, which presently enables landlords to evict tenants at the conclusion of a fixed term without just cause.

Designed to provide protection to the UK’s 11 million tenants and assure them safer, fairer, and better-quality housing, the new bill will impose further constraints on landlords. Landlords will face greater restrictions, particularly if their reasons for evicting tenants fail to meet certain defined criteria.

Kristy Ainge, a Solicitor-Advocate in the Litigation Team at Coventry and Warwickshire-based Brindley Twist Tafft & James (BTTJ), stated that the upcoming laws are meant to tackle no-fault evictions.

Kristy elaborated: “The main change is that a landlord cannot ask a tenant to leave if, for example, they want to move a friend into their property, or if for any reason they just don’t like them. The only way they can evict their tenants who are ‘not at fault’ is if they want to live there themselves, or move an immediate family member in, or if they want to sell the property. Even then, it will not be a quick process, because, if a landlord wishes to move into the property themselves, they cannot serve notice within the first 6 months of the tenancy.”

Furthermore, the reforms will permit tenancies to carry on a month-by-month basis, meaning that landlords who previously had the privilege of six or twelve months’ tenancies will now be periodic, relying on how frequently rent is paid. This change adds significant flexibility for tenants but takes away the assurance for landlords of having a tenant in place for a fixed period.

Another notable aspect of the reforms is the empowerment of tenants wishing to keep pets. Currently, landlords can enforce a blanket ban on all pets, largely due to concerns over potential property damage. However, under the new proposals, tenants will have the right to petition to keep a pet, and landlords will be unable to decline the request without sound justification, although they may require their tenant to handle pet and home insurance to cover potential damages.

The laws won’t protect tenants who fall behind with rent or engage in anti-social behaviour, and they can still be evicted as usual under the section 8 notice regime.

Kristy summed up the significant impact of the reforms by saying: “The new reforms will give tenants more protection but restricts what landlords can do with their own properties. There are expected to be some exceptions such as private student lets, though this is yet to be confirmed.”

The anticipated changes underline a shift towards tenant security and rights, albeit at the expense of some of the powers and certainties that landlords have traditionally enjoyed. The effects of these reforms will likely be closely monitored by both landlords and tenants, and the debate surrounding these changes is likely to continue until the law is finalised.