Navigating change: The Renters Reform Bill and its impact on tenants

13 Dec 2023

Navigating change: The Renters Reform Bill and its impact on tenants
The Renters Reform Bill aims to improve the renting experience for millions of people by addressing long-standing issues. In this blog, we will discuss the key aspects of the Renters Reform Bill and how it could potentially reshape the rental process.
It is first important to highlight the journey that a Bill takes before being enacted as Law:
As you can see, many rounds of readings and checks must be carried out before any of Bill becomes law. The first reading (commons) was held on the 17th of May 2023, the second reading (commons) on the 23rd of October 2023, and the committee stage (commons) on from the 14th to the 28th of November 2023. We are now in the report stage, which means the Bill has been read multiple times and brought before a Committee in the House of Commons and is now being considered for any amendments or changes as suggested by MPs.
For large-scale Bills, this process can take several days to compile any amendments that have been suggested. Once complete, however, it immediately goes to the third reading for the entire Bill, with all new amendments considered - if this is approved it will then move to the House of Lords, following the same review structure as before. Once the Bill makes it through the House of Lords and has been considered for all amendments, it will receive Royal Assent and become Law.
You can read more about how Bills become Law here.
Here's a recap of what is being proposed:
  • Abolishing Section 21 evictions:
One of the most significant changes proposed by the Renters Reform Bill is the abolition of Section 21 evictions. Historically, Section 21 has allowed landlords to evict tenants without providing a reason, leading to concerns about the security of tenure for renters. The bill seeks to replace this with a more transparent system, where landlords must provide a valid reason for evicting a tenant.
  • Introducing lifetime deposits:
Another noteworthy provision of the Renters Reform Bill is the introduction of lifetime deposits. Traditionally, tenants have had to pay a new deposit each time they move to a new rental property. The bill aims to simplify this process by allowing tenants to transfer their deposit from one property to another, reducing the financial burden on renters when relocating.
  • Rent caps and renters' rights:
The Renters Reform Bill also places a renewed emphasis on renter's rights and introduces measures to address issues related to rent affordability. Rent caps are being considered to prevent excessive rent increases, providing tenants with greater predictability in housing costs. Additionally, the bill aims to strengthen tenants' rights, ensuring they can live in a safe and habitable environment.
  • Improving standards in rental properties:
The Renters Reform Bill acknowledges the significance of living conditions and includes provisions to enhance the standards of rental properties. The bill aims to ensure that homes are habitable and that any necessary repairs are carried out promptly. By improving the quality of rental housing, the bill seeks to create a fairer and more secure living environment for tenants.
  • Empowering local authorities:
To enforce these changes effectively, the Renters Reform Bill seeks to empower local authorities with enhanced regulatory and enforcement capabilities. This includes providing them with the tools needed to address rogue landlords and ensure compliance with the new regulations. By decentralising some aspects of regulation, the bill aims to create a more responsive and accountable system.
  • Changes to council tax rules:
The Bill brings good news for landlords as it modifies the council tax regulations to ensure that tenants are responsible for paying the council tax until their notice period expires, even if they leave the property earlier. Currently, if a tenancy starts as a periodic tenancy, the landlord becomes liable for the council tax as soon as the tenant vacates the property, even if they have not given notice.
As the Renters Reform Bill makes its way through legislative processes, it represents a significant step toward rebalancing the relationship between landlords and tenants. The proposed changes, from the abolition of Section 21 to the introduction of lifetime deposits, signal a shift toward a fairer and more stable rental market. While the bill is not without its critics, its potential to enhance the rights and security of renters is a positive development in the ever-evolving landscape of housing policy. As the bill progresses, it will be interesting to see how these changes shape the future of renting and contribute to a more equitable housing system.
If you would like to talk about any of the proposed changes or have any questions about current legislation, you can talk to Lettings Manager, Jake by emailing him or call our office on 01482 562 562 📞

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Jake Astill

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