What are the next steps for the Rental Reform Act?

Government proposals for the Private Rented Sector were set out in a white paper called A Fairer Private Rented Sector, but what are the next steps?

The policy paper was published on 16th June 2022 and detailed the government’s plans to ‘fundamentally reform the private rented sector and level up housing quality in this country.’ An inquiry into the proposals was launched in July, with landlords asked to submit their views by 19th August.

Did you get your opinions in by the deadline? We’d love to hear what your thoughts on the proposed reforms are!

What did the rental reform white paper propose?

The proposals included:

  • Introduction of a a Decent Homes Standard for the private rented sector
  • Introduction of an Ombudsman for the Private Rented Sector
  • Introduction of a Property Portal for landlords
  • Introduction of the right to request to keep pets, which landlords must not unreasonably refuse
  • Reformation of the system of tenancies and abolish no-fault evictions (Section 21)
  • Reformation of the grounds on which landlords can take possession of their properties and better protect tenants from unfair rent increases
  • The end of blanket bans on renting to families with children 
  • All tenants will be given the right to request pets in their residency, which landlords must not unreasonably refuse

According to the white paper, nearly 11,000 households had to move because of rent increases in 2019-2020, so it’s understandable that many of these reforms fall heavily in the tenants favour.

However, some of these reforms – such as an Ombudsman to go to in the event of a dispute – will benefit both landlords and tenants. 

What will happen next with the white paper?

An inquiry was held on Monday 5th September, to make sure that the proposals laid out in the white paper will result in a fairer private rented sector. To do so, they heard from witnesses including:

  • Residents
  • Renters 
  • Landlords’ groups
  • Local government representatives

It’s a cross-party inquiry, looking at the current state of the PRS and the likely impact of Government reforms on it. This is something that we’re looking at in our webinar this Friday on the current state of the property sector and what the new Prime Minister should prioritise. 

Witnesses will include Ben Beadle of the NRLA and representatives from the British Property Federation, Shelter and Generation Rent, in a bid to give voice to as wide a representation of the private rental sector as possible.

When can we expect the rental reforms?

After the inquiry, decisions need to be made about the details of the reform. They will have to decide:

  • Are the reforms fair for both landlords and tenants?
  • Will the reforms significantly improve the private rental sector?
  • Will tenants be protected from unfair rent increases?
  • Will an ombudsman speed up disputes and ease the pressure on the courts?

Once the decision has been made that these reforms will improve the sector, they will start moving towards becoming the law. However, it may be a little while before we see the impact because they will take time to pass and to set up the logistics.

As there are updates, we will definitely keep you posted, so be sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media!

References: 

https://www.frettens.co.uk/site/blog/property-blog/rental-reform-white-paper-key-takeaways-for-landlords-tenants

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