17 May 2023

Government introduces Renters (Reform) Bill to Parliament

On 17 May government introduced the Renters (Reform) Bill which will deliver on the commitments made in last year’s White Paper, A fairer private rented sector.

CIH has welcomed the bill which should help to redress the balance of power between private tenants and landlords and provide more security of tenure.

Responding to the bill, CIH chief executive Gavin Smart said,

“All renters should be able to live in decent, secure and affordable homes and to settle in their community. We support the government’s commitment to help deliver on this through a Renters (Reform) Bill.

"Given cost of living pressures and rising homelessness rates, often linked to the end of a private rented sector tenancy, we particularly welcome the end of the landlord’s right to end the tenancy without good reason and measures to tackle arbitrary and unfair rent increases.

"We’re pleased to see the establishment of an Ombudsman for private renters and a portal to support private landlords to understand and fulfil their obligations, and to enable tenants to better hold their landlords to account.

"We recognise the need for landlords to be able to recover their properties in certain circumstances, but it is important to ensure that protections are in place as antisocial behaviour can be misidentified, especially in situations where domestic abuse is present.

"We look forward to the Government introducing the further key provisions committed to in the White Paper - applying the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector, making it illegal for landlords and agents to have blanket bans on renting to tenants in receipt of benefits or with children, and strengthening local councils’ enforcement powers.

"We will work with our members and partners in examining the detail to ensure the new measures are workable and provide appropriate protections.”

Overview of the Bill measures

The Bill will:

  • End section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and move to a simpler tenancy structure where all assured tenancies are periodic – providing more security for tenants and empowering them to challenge poor practice and unfair rent increases without fear of eviction
  • Introduce more comprehensive possession grounds so landlords can still recover their property (including where they wish to sell their property or move in close family) and to make it easier to repossess properties where tenants are at fault, in cases of anti-social behaviour and repeat rent arrears
  • Provide stronger protections against backdoor eviction by ensuring tenants are able to appeal excessively above-market rents which are purely designed to force them out. Landlords will still be able to increase rents to market price for their properties
  • Introduce a new Private Rented Sector Ombudsman that private landlords must join that is intended to provide fair, impartial, and binding resolution to many issues and to be quicker, cheaper, and less adversarial than the court system
  • Create a Privately Rented Property Portal to help landlords understand their legal obligations and demonstrate compliance, alongside providing better information to tenants to make informed decisions when entering into a tenancy agreement. It will also support local councils – helping them target enforcement activity where it is needed most
  • Give tenants the right to request a pet in the property, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse. To support this, landlords will be able to require pet insurance to cover any damage to their property.

The private rented sector white paper also committed to further reforms to support landlords and tenants. Government has indicated that it remains committed to implementing these reforms and will bring forward legislation at the earliest opportunity to:

  • Apply the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector. (Government launched a consultation in September 2022 to ensure the Decent Homes Standard is applied and enforced appropriately and fairly in the private rented sector.)
  • Make it illegal for landlords and agents to have blanket bans on renting to tenants in receipt of benefits or with children – ensuring no family is unjustly discriminated against when looking for a place to live; and
  • Strengthen local councils’ enforcement powers and introduce a new requirement for councils to report on enforcement activity – to help target criminal landlords

The Bill is available to view on the Parliament website.

The CIH member-exclusive What you need to know about the Renters (Reform) Bill is available now to download.

What you need to know about the White Paper a 'fairer private rented sector'

CIH Members can download this essential WYNTK summary guide of the White Paper offering a ‘new deal’ for private renters in England.