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Renters Reform Bill: here’s what Renters need to know

By Sophia Wood-Burgess

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The long-awaited Renters Reform Bill was finally unveiled, and our experts unpacked what it means for London Renters. Keep up to date with these key highlights.

Update: It was a surprise when the general election was called, and Renters Reform did not make it through the final stages to become law. But that might not be the end - see what future Renters Reform legislation could come in our article: 'Wash up' round up: Leasehold Reform and Renters Reform

Regulation in UK Lettings is notoriously complex. Everyone in this sector – Renters, Landlords, estate agents and local councils – would benefit from coherent, accessible and consistently applied legislation. We want our Renters to be confident in their decision to rent and comfortable in their homes, and we're waiting to see how well this Bill could support that.

How long will the Renters Reform Bill take to become law?

It’s important to remember that nothing's set in stone just yet. This Bill will change as it makes its way through the House of Commons and House of Lords, and if it becomes law, it will be more likely to do so by the summer of 2024.

What's included in the Renters Reform Bill?

There are a number of proposed changes. Our experts have combed the Bill and narrowed it into five key takeaways for Renters:

1. End of Section 21

The headline proposal of the Renters Reform Bill is the end of Section 21 (no-fault evictions). This would mean a Landlord can only evict in specified cases, such as:

a. Missed rent payments

b. Moving back in or selling the property

c. Antisocial behaviour

2. End of fixed-term tenancies

Most tenancies currently begin as fixed-term (assured shorthold) tenancies. So, you sign on for a year or two, and at the end of that term, it becomes a month-by-month rolling tenancy (a ‘periodic’ tenancy). This Bill would do away with the fixed term, so new tenancies would be periodic from the start.

3. Pets in the rental

Tenants would have the legal right to request a pet on the property. Landlords would only be able to refuse with reason, so maybe no towering Great Danes in studio flats. Landlords would be able to ask tenants to pay an additional premium or insurance to cover any pet damage.

4. Notification of an increase

Rent increases would be limited to once per year, and Landlords would need to give two-months’ notice. The current requirement is one month.

5. Future additions

This Bill would also lay the groundwork for a few additional tools aimed at bringing more clarity and confidence into London Lettings:

a. A property portal would give access to information and documents around the tenancy.

b. An Ombudsman would help sort disputes quickly and fairly.

c. The Decent Homes Standard, which currently applies to the social housing sector and describes how Landlords must ensure properties are in good repair and free from health and safety issues, would be applied to the Private Rental Sector.

What happens now?

For our Renters and Landlords, there are no actions you need to take in relation to your tenancy at the moment. Again, this is the first draft of a Bill, and it will change – however slightly or dramatically is anyone’s guess.

Our legislation and Lettings experts reviewed and analysed every line of the Bill to deliver these key takeaways, and we’ll keep you up to date on any relevant changes.

If you rent with Foxtons, you can always keep an eye on your tenancy and get in touch with our property managers through My Foxtons.

If you're searching for a rental, either browse our rental properties on the market, get in touch with your local Foxtons office or register your search to be among the first to learn about new listings.

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