Renter’s Reform Bill update: what happens next?
Our letting agents have been following the Bill since details were announced back in 2019. Now it finally appears we have a loose timetable for its passing into law. So what happens after the first reading?
The Bill’s second reading will take place in the House of Commons in early June, with all parties discussing the contents. Although no amendments can be made at this stage, members can propose changes. The second reading concludes with a vote on the Bill. If the vote is lost, the Bill can’t proceed any further in its current guise.
If the vote is in favour of the Bill, the next stages can take months. The committee stage sees a specially convened committee examine the Bill line-by-line, deciding whether clauses should remain, be amended or removed altogether. New material can also be added.
In the subsequent report stage (also known as Consideration in the Commons), the proposed amendments are discussed. A third reading in the Commons follows and then the Bill enters into the later stages. This can see the Bill, in its original or amended form, ‘ping pong’ between the House of Commons and the House of Lords, with the details debated further. Both Houses need to agree on the final Bill contents before it moves on to the final stages.
The Bill will become law once it has been given Royal Assent. Only then does it turn into an official Act. Changes to the lettings industry, however, will not be immediate. Usually there is a grace period in which people can prepare for new laws. Industry forecasters predict that the Bill will become an Act during the latter part of 2024.
For landlords, here’s a reminder of what’s included in the Renter’s Reform Bill:
Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions will be banned, although we are expecting a revision to Section 8 notices that will help landlords regain their properties in certain circumstances.
New legislation to make it easier to evict anti-social tenants, by broadening the definition of what type of anti-social behaviour could lead to an eviction.
A blanket ban on ‘no benefits’ and ‘no children’, making it easier for all tenants to find accommodation in the private rented sector.
Fairer treatments of tenants with pets, with landlords needing to have a good reason to refuse tenants who have a cat, dog or other domestic animal.
Rent rises limited to once a year and an increase to the rent notice period, which will double from one month to two.
A new Decent Homes Standard to be introduced to the private rented sector for the first time, forming part of the Government’s pledge to halve the number of non-decent rented homes by 2030.
The end of fixed term tenancies and a move towards periodic tenancies that don’t have an end date, enabling tenants to move on more easily when their circumstances change.
Launch of a new privately rented property portal, designed to provide landlords with all the compliance and legislation information they need in one place.
A new ombudsman created to oversee disputes, created to keep cases out of court and to find quicker, cheaper resolutions.
Strengthen councils’ enforcement powers to help target criminal landlords, via the introduction of a new requirement for councils to report on enforcement activity.
Our team will be closely monitoring the Renters’ Reform Bill as it works its way through both Houses. Landlords now have a window of opportunity to prepare for the legislative changes ahead. If you need any help interpreting what’s proposed – or you would like to engage in our full property management service so we can look after compliance with the Bill on your behalf – please contact our lettings department.
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