There are a number of stages the bill has to go through before it becomes law, and it may change as it goes through the stages. This normally take 6 – 12 months to go through the process and with some elements there will be staged implementation dates after that so there is no need to do anything at all for now.
When anything needs doing, we will issue you clear advice and keep you informed as always. From the 12-point plan being discussed over the past 12 months the below is the initial summary of the draft, with 6 main points in the bill which are to:
1. Abolish section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and move to a simpler tenancy structure where all assured tenancies are periodic. This means there will be no fixed terms any longer and tenants will be able to give 2 months’ notice to leave (increased from the current one month in periodic tenancies)
2. Introduce more comprehensive possession grounds so landlords can still recover their property (including where they wish to sell their property or move in close family) and to make it easier to repossess properties where tenants are at fault, for example in cases of anti-social behaviour and repeat rent arrears.
3. Provide stronger protections against backdoor eviction by ensuring tenants are able to appeal excessively above-market rents which are purely designed to force them out. As now, landlords will still be able to increase rents to market price for their properties and an independent tribunal will make a judgement on this, if needed, so market rents can still be achieved which is the important part.
4. Introduce a new Private Rented Sector Ombudsman that private landlords which will provide fair, impartial, and binding resolution to many issues. We are part of the Ombudsman now and it is a really useful mechanism for avoiding legal disputes which cost both parties money.
5. Create a Privately Rented Property Portal to help landlords understand their legal obligations and demonstrate compliance (giving good landlords confidence in their position).
6. Give tenants the right to request a pet in the property, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse. To support this, landlords will be able to require pet insurance to cover any damage to their property so you will be able to protect your property.
7. There will be a requirement for a ‘written statement’ with required information to be served on new tenancies, details of these to be decided but again something we will sort for you here. There are a few more elements they are saying they will bring in by regulation in the future but they are not detailed in this bill.
Whilst of course the above is change, the majority of this is legal and process changes that we handle for you. As always, the headlines in the press make these seem more dramatic than the reality. As we and you have always managed a professional service for you and your tenants, we see this just another step forward, which we will manage for you as the rules are announced. As the proposals move forward and inevitably are amended, we will keep you updated as to any action we may need to take on your property. We look forward to guiding you though these changes as always.