King's Speech - Renters Reform

November, 2023

The much-anticipated ban on what are known as no-fault evictions won't be implemented until a new court process and stronger grounds for landlords to possess properties are established, as confirmed by the Government.

Numerous charities and advocacy groups in the private rental sector have been advocating for the elimination of section 21 evictions, asserting that tenants have endured an extensive wait for reform.

Last month, Housing Secretary Michael Gove informed Conservative MPs that the ban will not be enforced until a sequence of enhancements are instituted within the legal framework.

The Government maintained that it remains committed to its manifesto promise to abolish this aspect of the current legislation, allowing landlords to evict tenants without providing a reason. However, this change won't be put into effect until the grounds for landlords' possession are fortified. Examples cited include the intent to sell the property, tenants' persistent and severe rent arrears, and an expansion of grounds for situations when close family members intend to move into the property.

The Government asserted that landlords will have the ability to evict tenants in as little as two weeks if they breach their tenancy agreement or cause damage to the property.

There have been objections from some Conservative MPs towards the Renters Reform Bill, citing concerns about increasing the load on landlords. However, in the King's address to Parliament, it was expressed that renters would experience enhanced security of tenure and better value, while landlords would benefit from reforms ensuring the certainty of regaining their properties when necessary.

In tandem with the Bill, the Government announced efforts to expedite the court process concerning property repossession. They also highlighted the engagement of both landlords and tenants in the process to ensure a straightforward and efficient system.

The Government outlined the introduction of more robust powers to evict tenants engaging in anti-social behaviour as part of the Bill. This includes an expansion of criteria for what constitutes disruptive and harmful activities. They also promised to reduce the time between a landlord serving an eviction notice due to anti-social behavior and being able to make a claim in court.

Furthermore, the Government pledged forthcoming amendments to the Bill, encompassing protections for the student market and making it unlawful to impose blanket bans on tenants receiving benefits or those with children. They clarified that this step would guard against discrimination while still leaving the final decision on who they rent to in the hands of landlords.

This Bill is positioned as part of the strategy to support 11 million private tenants and 2.3 million landlords in England, according to the Government's statements.

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