The Renters Reform Bill 2022

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Neale Crump, Property Litigation Solicitor | 12th July 2022

Goodbye section 21:The Renters Reform Bill: “the biggest shake-up of the private rented sector in 30 years”.

The current position:

The private sector rental market is perceived to favour landlords with its use of short-term tenancies. Tenants complain of a lack of security because it is open for a landlord to end the tenancy even if the tenant has paid rent on time and has not breached any terms of the tenancy agreement.

No-fault evictions:

Tenants complain section 21 of the housing Act 1988 allows a landlord (who set the tenancy up in compliance with the relevant legislation) after 4 months to give a tenant 8 weeks’ notice to leave the rental property. If the tenant does not leave the landlord can obtain a court order for possession of the property. As long as the landlord sets up the tenancy in compliance with the law the court must grant the order.

Proposed changes: What is happening to no-fault evictions?

The Government published its White Paper on reform of the private rented sector on 16 June 2022 – A Fairer Private Rented Sector. We shall have to wait for the Bill before we can see in many instances precisely what the Government is proposing to do. There is no information yet as to when precisely the abolition of no-fault evictions will come into place, but it is intended for some time in the near future: 2022/2023.

The Renters Reform Bill:

The Renters Reform Bill will include measures that abolish the creation of new fixed-term assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) and, at a later date, convert existing fixed-term ASTs to periodic tenancies.

The White Paper reaffirms the government’s intention to abolish “no-fault” evictions under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 and to reform the grounds for possession available to landlords of ASTs under section 8 of that Act.

The Government says the Renters Reform Bill intends to improve the lives of millions of renters, as it will prevent landlords from evicting tenants without legitimate grounds.

The Renters Reform Bill will cause the Decent Homes Standard to be extended to the private sector, meaning homes must not have serious health and safety hazards, and landlords must keep the home in a good state of repair. This will place a legal obligation on landlords to improve the quality of homes.

The Government says the Bill will also strengthen landlords’ grounds for repossessing their property as the Bill will make it easier for landlords to evict tenants who are willfully not paying rent, or who are continuously involved in anti-social behaviour. 

The now-former Levelling Up and Housing Secretary Michael Gove said:

“For too long many private renters have been at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords who fail to repair homes and let families live in damp, unsafe and cold properties, with the threat of unfair ‘no fault’ evictions orders hanging over them.”

“The white paper marks a generational shift that will redress the balance between landlords and 4.4 million private rented tenants”

If you want more information or need legal advice, please contact our Litigation team: Alex Jeffery or Neale Crump on 01752 388883.