The Government has introduced a bill that aims to deliver “safer, fairer and higher quality homes” in the private rented sector. Whilst the legislations changes will be the most significant for some time, what will the impact be on the lettings market?
Our lettings director and inhouse expert Rebecca Whitehead believes the changes will be positive for both landlords and tenants. Here, she explains what we know so far…
When will the bill become law?
The bill was introduced on the 17 May 2023, delivering on the Government’s 2019 manifesto. The bill will need to go through the usual parliamentary process before it can become actual legislation. The bill may still be subject to change until it becomes finally enshrined in law.
What does the bill include?
The bill aims to ensure that tenants have greater security in their homes and that landlords have the recourse they need to remove anti-social tenants or when they have a change in their own circumstances. The proposals include (but aren’t limited to):
- Making it illegal in England for landlords to evict tenants ‘without fault’ and requiring landlords to provide a reason for reclaiming the property (the proposed changes in England follow similar measures already introduced in Scotland and Wales).
- Creating a new Ombudsman to help resolve tenant and landlord disputes.
- Launching a new online Property Portal to provide a hub of rental information, including a database of residential landlords and privately rented properties in England.
- Enabling tenants to request the right to have a pet in the property, which a landlord can’t refuse without good reason.
- Outlawing bans on renting to tenants in receipt of benefits or with children.
- Ensuring that all privately rented sector homes in the UK meet a legislated Decent Homes Standard.
What will the impact be on rental properties?
Property will still hold the same appeal in terms of its investment potential and this legislation will not have a negative impact on the value of rental properties. In fact, it’s likely the effect on the return on the investment will be a positive one as it’s likely that the legislation will result in increasing rents.
Will I still be able to regain possession of my rental properties?
This is a major concern for landlords and the answer to this question is yes. Indeed, the new system will make it easier to regain possession where the tenant it as fault.
In terms of our statistics at Gascoigne Halman, only a very small amount of tenancies end because a landlord terminates the tenancy – the vast majority (over 80% of our tenancies) end because the tenant chooses to vacate. This will not change.
Tenancies that are terminated by the landlord tend to end because the landlord either wants to sell the property or move back in – both of these scenarios remain reasons to regain possession. Then there are further tenancies that landlords serve notice on because the tenant has breached contract, usually arrears or in extreme and unusual circumstances due to another breach such as antisocial behaviour. It will actually be easier under this new regime to regain possession in such situations, alleviating a lot of stress for landlords impacted by bad tenants.
What are my next steps as a landlord?
There is no imminent change that will affect landlords and tenants alike, and the majority of landlord/tenant relationships will remain unaffected post any legislation changes.
We will communicate any further updates to our landlords in due course but in the meantime, if you have any questions please contact your local Gascoigne Halman branch.
Correct at time of publishing 15 June 2023