Thank you for contacting me about Section 21 evictions.
The Renters (Reform) Bill will deliver the Government’s manifesto commitment to abolish Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions.
Many tenants live with the worry of being evicted at short notice or endure poor accommodation for fear they will be asked to leave if they complain about problems with their home. This is a problem that must be tackled.
Through the Renters (Reform) Bill, the Government will abolish Section 21 evictions and move to a simpler tenancy structure where all assured tenancies are periodic. I believe that reforming the current tenancy system will provide more security to private renters and give them the confidence to properly settle down in their homes. These reforms will also empower tenants to challenge poor practice and unfair rent increases without fear of a 'no fault' eviction.
In doing this, it is important to ensure landlords retain their right to swiftly get their properties back where they need to. The Bill will introduce more comprehensive possession grounds for landlords, including strengthened grounds to deal with anti-social behaviour. I believe these reforms will benefit tenants too, as it will help retain landlords’ confidence in the sector and support a healthy rental market.
The Renters (Reform) Bill will 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.
The Government has recently confirmed that it will oversee reforms to the courts before the abolition of Section 21 is implemented. While the vast majority of tenancies end without involving the courts, I agree with Ministers that a fast and efficient court system is critical to making sure the new system works in practice. This is vital to ensuring the Renters (Reform) Bill is a success and that it delivers the fairer private rented sector that landlords and tenants deserve.
Underlying all these improvements, the Government are preserving the vital statutory protections already built into the process for tenants, such as time available before a hearing to seek legal advice and reasonable notice before an eviction date. Together, these reforms will ensure the modern and efficient court processes needed to make the Renters (Reform) Bill a success – delivering the fairer private rented sector that landlords and tenants deserve.
I appreciate the importance of allowing time for a smooth transition to this new system and I am assured that tenants, landlords and agents will be supported as they adjust. As I understand it, these reforms will be implemented in two stages, with all new tenancies becoming periodic followed by existing tenancies. For more information I provide the link to the gov.uk guide regarding the Renters (Reform) Bill here: Guide to the Renters (Reform) Bill - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
More widely, the Bill will introduce other changes to support the sector as a whole. For example, it will give tenants the right to request a pet, while giving landlords the ability to require pet insurance to cover any damage to their property. The Government will also set up a Private Rented Property Portal to help landlords understand their legal obligations and demonstrate compliance, giving good landlords confidence in their position. The portal will provide tenants with better information to help them make informed decisions when entering into a tenancy agreement.
It is my belief that landlords can benefit from making their property open to tenants with pets, as this can encourage increased demand, lead to longer tenancies and attract more responsible owners. I therefore welcome that, through the Renters (Reform) Bill, the Government will give tenants the right to request a pet in their home, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse. While it is not possible to legislate for every situation where a landlord would or would not be able to 'reasonably' refuse a pet, landlords will be required to fully consider all requests for pets on a case-by-case basis.
It is important to keep in mind that landlords have the right to protect their properties from damage and are required to comply with health and safety standards, meaning they may not allow pets in all cases. To help make it easier for landlords to accept pet requests, the Government is proposing amending the Tenant Fees Act 2019 so that landlords may ask that tenants take out pet insurance. This would ensure that any damage to the property is covered.
Under the Government's plans, tenants will be able to escalate disagreements to the new Private Rented Sector Ombudsman which the Government is legislating for. The Ombudsman will provide fair and impartial advice. I am assured that the Government will be publishing guidance for landlords and tenants before these new rules come into effect.
I believe that, together, these reforms will provide tenants with more security, while supporting responsible landlords who constitute the overwhelming majority of the sector.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.