Abolition of S21, tenants rights to keep pets, and a new property ombudsman are all changes included in the long-awaited Renters Reform Bill that today gets its first reading in parliament.
Whether everything included in the bill becomes law or not, this legislation looks set to be the biggest change in rented housing policy since the 1980’s, and is sadly a further admission by government that their housing policies have badly failed.
With rental prices rising dramatically and the availability of property at an all-time low, the timing of the bill is seen by most in the industry as bizarre and completely out of touch.
With landlords currently leaving the market at an alarming rate, the introduction of the changes included in the bill will only increase that exodus, pushing rents to even higher levels. The bill includes the creation of a new property ombudsman to speed up disputes and promises to beef-up the Section 8 giving landlords greater power to evict tenants for rent arrears and anti-social behaviour, but there is currently no commitment to adjust LHA rates to help tenants cope with the rent increases the failing housing market is creating.
The knock-on effects of the abolition of S21 promises to be the biggest issue, particularly in student cities where properties are let for a year at a time. Currently, Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA), are being allowed to carry on with annual tenancies, yet private operators are not. Landlords operating student properties are obviously hoping that is a position that changes.