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The Renters Reform Bill Doesn’t Offer Better Protection For Tenants In The Slightest!

The new Renters Reform Bill comes into effect next week. Finally! It only took 4 years to get passed as law and now with the bill set to come into effect next week it would appear tenants are finally getting the protection they need by aboloshinig the Section 21 notice for ‘no fault’ evictions. But, this well publisized bill isn’t the saviour it’s been tauted as – far from it!

What this action proposed to do is essentially revamp the Section 8 notice with some tweaks here and there to bolster its usability for landlords whilst discontinuing the landlords main weapon of issuing a section 21.

As a landlord of 28 years, I can report that to bypass this bill you simply need to tell the tenant you want to move back into the house or flat and the tenant has to move out. Similarly, if you tell the tenant you are selling the property they will have no argument whatsoever. It’s impossible to legislate! Who is checking up on the completion of sale? The tenant would have moved on and the landlords can simply let the property again without checks and balances in place to ensure this loophole isn’t being used illegally.

Michael Gove hasn’t done anything with this bill – it does nothing whatsoever to change the landscape for tenants or landlords! Tenants are not safer in their homes – okay they might get 6 months grace until the ‘selling’ or ‘moving back in clause’ can be issued on a Section 8 but after that it’s business as usual. I certainly wouldn’t be feeling any safer. The average term a tenant spends at one property is 4 years before moving on. What does 6 months grace at the start realistically offer. The answer, rather regrettably is nothing! A useless bill pretending to deliver better security for tenants. I think Sunak wanted to give Gove a public victory but this is weak.

My Suggestions

Firstly, scrap the Renters Reform Bill because it simply isn’t ‘reforming’ anything for ‘renters’. Instead I would suggest a redrafting of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985. This would be a rewrite of the laws that are almost 40 years old! Whats needed is an aribtration and ruling body for landlords and tenants. Strict entry level tests and full oversight of the tenancy without prejudice to one party or another. An enforcing of the rules which also lists tenants on a blacklist as well as landlords for scrupulous behaviour.This power could be given to letting agents as they are already in place. It wouldn’t be a terible idea to abandon self letting by landlords themselves but instead make it compulsary to use a letting agent body of some kind with set criteria of charges and fees nationwide. Give the better performing landlords tax breaks and you also get a handle on landlord tax problem whilst incentivising at the same time 😉

by James King for Rental Market.