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Renters Reform Bill and ‘no fault’ evictions — what you need to know

AuthorsMark Gannon

Renters Reform Bill and no fault evictions what you need to know

Last year, the UK Government released its Renters Reform White Paper, which outlines its proposal for the Renters Reform Bill 2022. The Government has now introduced the bill and set out its ‘once-in-a-generation’ proposals to Parliament.

Here, Senior Associate and housing and regeneration specialist Mark Gannon sets out the key proposals that you need to know about.


Abolishing section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions

It's proposed that all tenants who would previously have had an Assured Tenancy or Assured Shorthold Tenancy will move onto a single system of periodic tenancies. A tenancy will now only end if the tenant ends it (by providing at least two months’ notice) or if the landlord has a valid ground for possession.

It is likely that this proposal will be implemented as it has cross-party support. The proposals suggest that other grounds in which landlords can end tenancies will be reviewed and strengthened (including the non-payment of rent, causing damage to the property and persistent breaches of the tenancy agreement). The changes will likely impact private landlords more so than Registered Providers, but nevertheless will apply across the board. If implemented, this will signify a huge change in housing law.


Reforming grounds of possession

There will be a new mandatory ground for reported serious arrears. It's proposed that eviction will be mandatory where a tenant has been in at least two months’ rent arrears three times within the previous three years, regardless of the arrears balance at the court hearing. The notice period for the existing rent arrears will be increased to four weeks, while the mandatory threshold of two months’ arrears at time of serving notice and hearing will remain.

Bespoke grounds for possession will be created for supported housing providers and ASB notice periods for existing mandatory grounds will decrease. The Government has stated that the reform will strengthen powers to evict antisocial tenants and make it quicker to evict tenants acting anti-socially. The Government’s own data suggests that it can take around six months between a landlord applying to the courts to repossess a property to it actually happening. Any reform that assists landlords in protecting customers and communities from antisocial behaviour will be welcomed across the sector.


Renting with pets

Landlords will be unable to unreasonably withhold consent when a tenant requests to have a pet in their home and tenants will be able to challenge a decision. Landlords will be able to require pet insurance to cover any damage to their property.


Rent increases

Contractual rent increases will not be permitted and any rent increases will be restricted to once a year. All rent increases during a tenancy will need to be or undertaken via the Section 13 process. A tenant will be able to challenge all increases in the First-Tier Tribunal if it is felt that the increase is unjustified. This is likely to result in a significant change for many landlords, who may currently rely on contractual increases, rather than the S.13 statutory process.


Court reform

The Government has indicated that the new tenancy system will be introduced alongside a reformed court process. It's envisaged that the process will be digitised, reducing delays in legitimate evictions. However, if more ground-based possession claims are brought, this will place a greater burden on the courts’ already stretched resources. Only time will tell if the digitised system will be fit for purpose. If the appropriate investment and resources are not provided to the courts, it seems likely that the forthcoming reforms will not be as effective as envisaged.


The Decent Homes Standard

The Decent Homes Standard is already a regulatory standard in the Social Rented Sector. It's proposed that this will now apply to all homes in the Private Rented Sector. This will also include a review of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).


What next?

The much-anticipated Renters Reform Bill has now started its long journey into law. However, with various details yet to be ironed out, the Bill could still take some time to be implemented. If approval is granted, the Renters Reform White Paper indicated that that the proposed new system would be implemented in two stages. At least six months’ notice will be provided before the first implementation date, after which all new tenancies will become periodic. All existing tenancies will transition to the new system on the second implementation date. There will be at least 12 months between the first and second implementation dates.

Landlords and tenants alike should have sufficient time to assess and come to terms with any changes. The reform will undoubtedly lead to a new landscape, but how this works in practice is yet to be seen.

If you have any questions regarding the Renters Reform Bill and how the proposed changes may impact you, get in touch with me at or another member of our housing and regeneration team.

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