Reforming the private rented sector
View the Policy Paper
The objective of the Bill is to ensure renters have access to a secure and decent home and that landlords retain the confidence to repossess their properties where they need to. The Bill will:
- Abolish section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and reform tenancy agreements where all assured tenancies are periodic.
- Introduce more possession grounds where tenants are at fault, for example in cases of anti-social behaviour and repeat rent arrears.
- Provide stronger protections against retaliatory evictions.
- Introduce a new Ombudsman that all private landlords must join.
- Introduce a new Property Portal including a database of residential landlords and privately rented properties in England.
- Give tenants the right to request a pet in their property, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse.
Further measures the UK Government will legislate for include:
- Apply the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector.
- Make it illegal for landlords and agents to have blanket bans on renting to tenant in receipt of benefits or with children.
- Strengthen local council’s enforcement powers and introduce a new requirement for councils to report on enforcement activity.
Propertymark is ensuring your voice is heard
So far, we’ve engaged with senior officials at DLUHC, provided evidence at Minister-led roundtables and made your views clear at select committee sessions in Parliament. We have also engaged with politicians across the political divide and in 2021 and produced our own White Paper: ‘The Future of Renting’ to influence and shape the reforms going forward.
The Future of Renting features our recommendations to the UK Government and its plans to reform the private rented sector in England. We want to help shape and influence the UK Government’s Renters’ Reforms White Paper which is due to be released in 2022.
Propertymark has submitted written evidence to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee who have opened an inquiry into the UK Government’s plans to reform the private rented sector in England.
An online survey showed that pet damage is extremely common in properties where landlords rent to tenants with pets and the costs are difficult to recoup. With the demand for pet-friendly homes continuing to increase, the UK Government must now understand the costs for landlords and implement rules that support the sector.
It can take between nine and twelve months for a Bill to pass into law. The process includes ‘Readings’ in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords and will include opportunities for amendments to be tabled.
A similar process takes place in the House of Lords. Any amendments have to be agreed by both the House of Commons and the House Lords after which the Bill can be sent to the King for Royal Assent and pass into law. It will then become an Act.
This is held in the House of Commons, when the bill is first published. There is no debate on the Bill.
This is the first opportunity for MPs to debate the main principles of the Bill and usually takes place no sooner than two weekends after first reading.
A committee of MPs will scrutinise the bill line by line. This provides the first opportunity to propose, debate and vote on suggested amendments and new clauses.
A Public Bill Committee in the Commons can take oral and written evidence on the bill.
All MPs will have an opportunity to table, debate and, if needed, vote upon further suggested amendments and new clauses to the Bill.
The final chance for the Commons to debate the contents of the Bill. It usually takes place immediately after Report Stage. No amendments are possible.
There is huge demand for rented property across the country, so it is vital that legislative change is fit for purpose and does not cause landlords to leave the sector or deter new entrants from providing much needed homes to rent. To improve the UK Government’s proposals and make the PRS fairer, further reform is needed in the following areas:
A tenant should be able to agree to a fixed term tenancy where it is mutually beneficial for both parties. A fixed term gives landlords and tenants a guarantee as to the length of time the tenancy will last. The tenant has security of tenure for the full tenancy period and the landlord knows that rent payments will be made for the whole fixed-term period. This particularly important for student lettings.
More mandatory grounds
To ensure landlords have the protections they need, there must be more mandatory grounds under the plans to reform possession proceedings - breach of contract, persistent late payment of rent, acquiring a tenancy by using false identification, damage over the amount of the deposit and a tenant refusing access to property should all be mandatory grounds under the plans to abolish Section 21 and reform Section 8.
More details and clarity are needed on how the UK Government plan to digitise the court system and improve access to justice. This should include plans for a dedicated housing court or tribunal and court reform must take place before the changes to the possession process are introduced.
Qualification and regulation of property agents
Through introducing minimum standards to work in the sector and statutory rules to ensure letting agents are suitably qualified, this will ensure parity with the social rented sector, drive up standards and help deliver a fairer private rented sector for tenants and landlords.
Members: log into the website and download the campaign toolkit