How the Renters (Reform) Bill could impact separating families
The Renters (Reform) Bill (“the Bill”) has been introduced to parliament and makes provisions for changing the law regarding the private rented sector in England.
Some of the main provisions of the bill include:
Abolition of fixed-term assured tenancies
Assured shorthold tenancies, which is arguably the most common type of tenancy in the private rented sector, will be scrapped. Such tenancies will become periodic instead, with the tenancy period being no longer than 28 days.
Tenants will also be able to end a tenancy by giving two months’ notice.
This provision will give families who rent a lot more security and also flexibility if they wish to end the tenancy for any reason.
In respect of relationship breakdown, the provision that two months’ notice is required to end a tenancy will give both parties sufficient time to make alternative accommodation arrangements before the tenancy ends.
Abolition of section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions
Serving an eviction notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (“HA 1988”) will be banned. Currently, a landlord can evict their tenants by serving a section 21 notice and without giving any specific reason for evicting them.
The abolition of ‘no fault’ evictions will provide more security and stability for families who rent.
Introduction of more comprehensive possession grounds
With section 21 notices being abolished, landlords who wish to evict tenants will have to solely rely on serving a notice under section 8 of the HA 1988.
To be able to serve a section 8 notice, one or more of the grounds for possession must be met. Such grounds are set out in Schedule 2 of the HA 1988.
Under the Bill, more comprehensive grounds for possession will be created and will provide for scenarios where a landlord wants to sell the property, a landlord (or a landlord’s family member) wants to move into the property or if the tenant in situ is causing a nuisance.
Introduction of a new Private Rented Sector Ombudsman
The creation of a new Private Rented Sector Ombudsman will allow for disputes between landlords and tenants to be settled at little to no cost to the tenant.
The ombudsman will have powers to order the landlord to resolve issues raised by tenants, including the disrepair of the property.
This introduction will give families who rent more confidence to speak up about issues in relation to their landlord and the property and will give families who may not be able to pay for legal advice and/or representation the opportunity to get issues resolved.
Creation of a Private Rented Property Portal
Upon the introduction of the Private Rented Property Portal, it will be mandatory for landlords to join the portal. This will allow tenants to vet their future landlords before deciding to rent a property from them.
Hopefully, the creation of this portal will reduce, potentially even irradicate, rogue landlords which will provide more safety for families who have to or who choose to rent.
Right to request a pet to live in the rented property
Tenants will be able to request their landlord’s consent to have a pet live at the rented property. Such consent cannot be unreasonably refused by the landlord.
This is great news for animal lovers and parents who want their children to grow up having a family pet.
With current inflated house prices and the significant increase in mortgage interest rates, more separated families will have to consider moving into rented accommodation as opposed to remaining in the family home or purchasing a new property. The proposed changes are important for such families who will wish to have as much stability and security for themselves and their children as possible.
If you are going through a separation and would like legal advice as to how these changes might impact you or you are seeking family law advice generally, please contact our team of specialist family law solicitors on 0113 322 9222 or firstname.lastname@example.org