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Residential rental sector faces biggest shake-up in 30 years

Proposals laid out in a White Paper this month represent the biggest changes to the private rented sector in more than 30 years, according to the Government.

The measures, Entitled A Fairer Private Rented Sector, will form part of the Renters Reform Bill as announced in the Queen’s Speech, to be introduced in this parliamentary session.

The Government says it will ensure millions of families benefit from living in decent, well-looked-after homes.

Sector fears of driving up rents

The new legislation is designed to help the most vulnerable by outlawing so-called ‘no fault’ section 21 evictions – that allow landlords to end tenancies without giving any reason and blanket bans on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive at National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) said they were studying the proposals but said: “The eventual legislation needs to recognise that government actions have led to a shortage of supply in the sector at a time of record demand. It is causing landlords to leave the sector and driving up rents when people can least afford it.”

It will also give support to responsible landlords by ensuring they can gain possession of their properties efficiently from anti-social tenants and can sell their properties when they need to.

What are the main points of the White Paper?

  • Ending the use of arbitrary rent review clauses, restricting tribunals from hiking up rent, and enabling tenants to be repaid rent for non-decent homes.
  • Giving all tenants the right to request a pet in their house, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse.
  • All tenants are to be moved onto a single system of periodic tenancies, meaning they can leave poor quality housing without remaining liable for the rent or move more easily when their circumstances change.
  • Doubling notice periods for rent increases and giving tenants stronger powers to challenge them if they are unjustified.


Another major shift is that tenants will be able to demand information and rate their landlord as part of new satisfaction measures.

How will it affect landlords?

As well as being able to gain possession of their properties from anti-social tenants and sell their properties when they need to, a new Private Renters’ Ombudsman will be created to enable disputes between private renters and landlords to be settled quickly, at low cost, and without going to court.

There will be a new property portal that will help landlords comply with their responsibilities as well as give councils and tenants the information they need to tackle rogue operators.

Ben Beadle added: “Whilst headline commitments to strengthening possession grounds, speedier court processes and mediation are helpful, the detail to follow must retain the confidence of responsible landlords, as well as improving tenants’ rights.”

For help and advice on matters relating to the residential rented property sector, contact our expert team today.

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