Theresa May first promised to axe no-fault evictions back when prime minister back in April 2019 but it took until June last year for the Tories to lay out a white paper setting out how they would be scrapped. Almost a year later the legislation is being introduced to parliament.
Lord Bird, founder of the Big Issue and crossbench peer, said: “The Renters Reform Bill is the biggest shake-up of the Private Rented Sector in a generation. And although not perfect, I am particularly pleased to see that abolishing the Section 21 no-fault evictions is in there.
“We must pass this Bill sooner rather than later because with every delay comes with it more people becoming evicted from their homes.”
The proposed legislation also includes a legal right for tenants to request a pet in their home. Landlords must consider the request and “cannot unreasonably refuse”.
Michael Webb, head of policy and public affairs, Battersea Cats & Dogs Home, said: “Not only will this bill bring us one step closer to significantly reducing the number of dogs and cats we see being needlessly separated from their owners, it will also open up the many joys of pet ownership to millions of renters in the future.”
Owen Sharp, chief executive of Dogs Trust, called the bill a “potential game-changer for dog owners”.
Landlords will be unable to have blanket bans on renting to tenants in receipt of benefits or with children under the reforms.
The bill will also aim to improve the quality of rental homes by introducing a “decent home standard”, which the government promised will deliver on its levelling up promise to halve the number of non-decent rented homes by 2030.
Councils will also be given greater powers to tackle rogue landlords and a new ombudsman will be set up to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. A property portal will be set up for landlords and tenants to understand their rights.
The government also promised a reformed courts process with cases set to be digitised to reduce delays.
Renters must now wait for the legislation to go through parliament before it comes into force. The bill has 18 months to make it into law before the next general election.
Gove added: “Our new laws introduced to parliament today will support the vast majority of responsible landlords who provide quality homes to their tenants, while delivering our manifesto commitment to abolish Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions.
“This will ensure that everyone can live somewhere which is decent, safe and secure – a place they’re truly proud to call home.”
Campaigners in the Renters Reform Coalition – including Shelter, Generation Rent and tenants union Acorn – have been calling on the government to bring forward the legislation for years.
While the Renters Reform Bill is intended to give tenants greater power, the legislation will also allow landlords to reclaim properties to sell their property, move in a close family member or evict a tenant who does not pay rent.
Tenants who breach their tenancy agreement or cause damage to the property where they live will see eviction notice periods reduced.
The measures were welcomed by Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association. He said: “The NRLA will continue to work with the government to ensure the detail of the bill is fair for responsible landlords and tenants alike.”
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said the bill must “truly deliver change for renters” and have the “teeth needed for real change.”
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