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A fairer private rented sector

Private Rentals

Whilst the government promises to provide £37 billion to help households with rising costs, they also promise to protect tenants against “no-fault” evictions. The government has also committed to ending poor living conditions for tenants whilst putting and limiting how often landlords can increase rent. The hope is that these initiatives will prevent the need for tenants to seek new accommodation in an already expensive and competitive market.

Rental increases

Amidst rising inflation, the UK’s rental market faces a crisis as tenants struggle to find houses and rooms to rent under an assured short hold tenancy. This comes at a time where the cost of living is at an all-time high, and renters are becoming increasingly concerned over the higher prices of renting.

To help with the costs of living and renting, the government published a White Paper in June 2022 which proposed:

  • a cap on the number of times a landlord can increase rent to once a year.
  • the removal of rent review clauses to support tenants during challenging times where rental prices increase.

In addition to this, the government has also introduced a Debt Respite Scheme which will allow “breathing space” of up to 60 days for renters that are in rent arrears. This will freeze interest, fees, and charges for tenants. It provides renters time to seek financial advice and solutions to help them pay the arrears without falling into further debt.

The government’s plans to alleviate financial pressures in this way is a positive step to help support private renters in today’s climate.

Quality homes by 2030

The White Paper shows the government’s commitment to eradicating poor living conditions for private renters by 2030.

Over the years, Section 21 has meant that tenants living in damp, cold, or dangerous conditions and many have feared that if they complain to their landlord,they will be at a risk that the landlord will slap them with a section 21 notice to vacate the property.

The government’s promise to enforce strict living standards for landlords to comply with means it will also introduce a new Ombudsman which will make the disputes process quicker and cheaper and will allow tenants to voice their concerns without being at risk of unfair eviction.

Abolishing section 21 “no-fault” evictions

Section 21 allows landlords to end assured shorthold tenancies without having to provide the tenant with grounds under Schedule 2 of the Act, simply by serving at least 2 months’ notice for them to leave.

The government’s White Paper sets out the Renters Reform Bill which is designed to protect renters against “no-fault” evictions by abolishing section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. This comes as the government’s bid to protect tenants’ rights and change the grounds upon which a landlord can serve notice on a tenant to leave.

It is believed that assured shorthold tenancies will move over to a periodic tenancy, giving tenants greater protection and only allowing landlords to remove a tenant on certain grounds. These grounds are believed to be if the landlord wishes to sell the property or wishes to move into the property. There will also be grounds that allows the landlord to evict the tenant if they fall into serious rent arrears.

This means that the landlord can no longer evict their tenant under previous grounds and will make it more difficult to evict their tenants. This reform will also introduce a property portal that will help improve the tenant’s experience by allowing them to make and view requests to the landlord via the portal.

If you would like any more information relating to this article then please feel free to contact me via telephone – 020 8221 8073, via email here, or visit my profile: Leah Galea-Bateman.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

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