Mander Hadley Logo


Mander Hadley Solicitors in Coventry 024 7663 1212


Mander Hadley Solicitors in Kenilworth 01926 857631

Cover all
  the angles

Related links Down Arrow

Make an enquiry Down Arrow

Read more articles in: Blog, Lorraine Walker, News

Avoiding disputes during changes to tenants’ rights

With the cost of renting privately rising and a high demand for housing, it is not uncommon for disputes to arise between tenants and landlords as all parties seek to protect their rights and their stake in a property.

As many changes to tenants’ rights and landlord obligations are upcoming or proposed, the housing market could be faced with further disputes and claims of unfair treatment – particularly due to early uncertainty.

Lorraine Walker, a Solicitor in Mander Hadley’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution team, takes a deep dive into the changes coming to the rights of tenants and landlords this year and how tenants can protect their rights without becoming involved in a dispute.

The rise of selective licencing

Under a selective licencing scheme, subject to certain exemptions, landlords must have a licence to rent out a property, which can usually only be obtained for a fee if the property meets the minimum requirements.

“Currently, the decision to apply selective licencing is down to the local authority, and more councils are taking the step to bring in schemes to provide increased assurance to tenants that any property they rent in the area will be of a good standard,” explains Lorraine.

Landlords can be taken to court and be given an unlimited fine if they fail to obtain a licence for a private rental property that requires one.

The Renters (Reform) Bill

The Renters (Reform) Bill was first introduced to Parliament in May 2023 to reform the rights of tenants in rented housing.

If introduced in its current form, the Bill would:

  • Ban Section 21 (no-fault) evictions
  • Apply the Decent Homes Standard (DHS) to private-sector rentals
  • Increase the rights of tenants to keep pets
  • Increase the notice period for rent increases
  • Create a new ombudsman for all private landlords
  • Outlaw blanket bans of those with children or in receipt of benefits

“It seems likely that the Bill or parts of it will progress in 2024, despite previous delays, and it could be a source of disputes and uncertainty between tenants and landlords as it moves into law,” says Lorraine.

“However, with a general election around the corner and potential change of Government, it is important that landlords monitor this bill to ensure they remain informed at all times.”

Section 21 evictions

The proposed bill to ban ‘no-fault’ evictions aims to abolish Section 21 notices, preventing landlords from evicting tenants without a specific reason such as breach of contract.

This could significantly impact tenant-landlord dynamics, potentially reducing the number of arbitrary evictions and offering greater security to tenants.

However, it may also lead to increased disputes as landlords navigate more stringent criteria for eviction, emphasising the need for clear and fair dispute resolution mechanisms in the rental sector.

Fixed term tenancies

“One of the major points raised by the Bill that has stayed out of the headlines is the proposed ban on fixed term tenancies,” says Lorraine.

Many tenancies currently begin on fixed-term contracts, with some landlords offering the option to pass onto a rolling or ‘periodic’ contract once this initial term has ended.

Where this is likely to be most significant is in the student rental market, which relies heavily on tenants renting accommodation on an annual basis.

If this ban does give rise to an increase in disputes, it is likely to be over the required notice periods for exiting a tenancy and from landlords seeking to recoup the cost of looking for a new tenant.

Staying safe and compliant

“Changes in legislation for tenants and landlords is always a challenging time for all parties and can result in uncertainty, misinformation and a rise in disputes,” concludes Lorraine.

“To avoid this, I would urge tenants and landlords to get in touch with us to reach a practical solution which avoids unnecessary litigation and distress.”

Our dispute resolution team understand the challenges facing landlords and tenants. Get in touch for advice and assistance.

Lorraine Walker

Solicitor – litigation and dispute resolution

Prior to qualifying as a solicitor, I worked within the education sector as a senior leader in a secondary school.