Property occupants with keys

.‘Everyone deserves a decent home’ is not a statement any of us take issue with. However, will this affect you as a landlord? We’ll run through how things might change between you and your tenants going forward as a result of The Rental Reform 2022.

Below are the basics that will ultimately affect both tenants and landlords. We’ll also guide you through any action you need to take as a landlord with these new measures in place.

Here are the basics

The Rental Reform is the white paper to the government’s long-term vision to create a fairer private sector. The reform wants to enhance the private rented sector (PRS) so that it is fit for the 21st century and delivers a better deal for tenants.

This includes plans to:

  • Abolish Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions and introduce a simpler tenancy structure
  • Apply the Decent Homes Standard to the PRS for the first time
  • Introduce a new Property Portal to help landlords understand their obligations
  • Introduce a housing ombudsman covering all PRS landlords and providing redress for tenants

Levelling out the property paying field

In the North and Midlands, there are areas saturated with poorly run rental properties which predominantly offer lower-income families homes. The government looks to make ‘all rental properties good ones’ with this standard that is being drawn up and handed over to local councils to enforce.

Obviously, the government is keen on making sure everyone has a chance to save and buy their own property by monitoring the amount of yield landlords are charging for their property in comparison to the area it is located. This way, there is no fair imbalance between the earnings of the tenants and the amount of rent they are paying. Landlords have an obligation to charge a ‘fair rent’.

How will the rental reform help tenants?

Here are the main takeaways from The Rental Reform which look to improve the rental market for tenants.

The right to safe housing

The reform sets out to make sure housing is safe, affordable and maintained. This ranges from keeping the temperature from being too cold with appropriate heating and from being too hot without ventilation. Landlords will hold a responsibility to keep appliances safe and repaired at all times.

Unaddressed dampness or overheating can cause poor health and will fall to the responsibility of the landlord to make the property liveable and with ‘enjoyment of the peace’.

No threat of being unfairly evicted

Under section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction, landlords were able to reclaim possession of the property with no real explanation. This could be enforced after four months of the tenancy. The government looks to abolish this section giving tenants peace of mind that their life isn’t suddenly going to be uprooted for no reason.

Subsequently, the consequences of being suddenly evicted result in massive economic shortcomings which affect people’s chance to buy their own property. It’s very expensive to continuously move and can have serious social and economic consequences on families and tenants.

Ability to take quicker action against your landlord

Unreturned deposits and unfair evictions as well as unlivable conditions are the main reasons tenants take legal action against their landlords. There will be more power granted to local authorities who can police these disputes with more efficiency and enforce action against landlords who are found to be not complying with the set standard.

There will be an introduction of an ombudsman covering all PRS landlords and providing redress for tenants. The Ombudsman will act as a go-to for tenants to raise disputes against landlords.

How will the Rental Reform affect landlords?

If you’re thinking this all sounds like it’s weighted in favour of the tenants, you’d be wrong. While there will be some major changes to support the notion of ‘everyone deserves a decent home’, some of them lie in the benefit of landlords.

Working with local councils

Ultimately, local councils will gain more authority over disputes and standards landlords hope to see issues being dealt with more efficiently.

Making sure your home is compliant with Decent Home Standards

Whether you’re a HMO landlord or this is your first property, you must comply with several standards such as gas and electricity checks and fire safety checks. In addition, dampness and overheating are common issues that landlords face dealing with. Follow the Decent Home Standards to understand fully how your rental property should be running with tenants living there.

There will also be a property portal for landlords to check regularly to make sure they comply with updated regulations.

More support for landlords over antisocial behaviour from tenants

Landlords are often faced with tenants who disturb the peace of those around them. This problem usually falls to the landlord and can be very tricky to escalate with long court waiting times and a lack of evidence. With the Rental Reform 2022, the government looks to make sure more support and swifter eviction action is given to landlords.

This support is also to be extended to the letting agents who manage the property on behalf of the landlord.

Localised courts will be being assembled for the sole purpose of house disputes. In addition, issues such as anti-social behaviour and financial arrears will be dealt with quickly rather than waiting for over-exhausted courts.

Where can I read more about Rental Reform 2022?

There are a few versions of The Rental Reform available on the .gov site.

Long-form  –  Have a read of the 89-page full version

Short-form – Take a look at the easy-read version

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