Rent Reform Bill
Following a consultation by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in April 2019, a key takeaway was support for the proposal to abolish ‘no-fault’ evictions, by repealing Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. As set out in the consultation, this proposed change would require landlords to provide a ‘good reason’ to evict a tenant. This was reportedly set to feature in the proposed Rent Reform Bill, the white paper for which has been delayed as a result of the pandemic.
The Government are aiming to publish the long awaited white paper for the Rent Reform Bill this year. The details of this are not yet clear, but we may see an end to no-fault evictions, along with the possibility of a greater regulatory framework for landlords, including a ‘landlords register’. At the same time as removing the ability for landlords to evict tenants by way of a section 21 notice, there is set to be an expansion of the number of grounds (or reasons) landlords can rely on in order to seek possession, under Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988.
In light of this, landlords may expect to see greater regulation on the private rental sector in the coming years. Therefore, it is vital they keep abreast of any updates and take legal advice where necessary. That way they can ensure ongoing compliance with their statutory duties and also that tenancies are validly terminated.
From the 1 October 2021, notice periods for section 8 and section 21 notices returned to pre-pandemic levels, For section 21 notices, this has now reverted to 2 months and for section 8 notices, the time limit ranges from 0 – 2 months, dependant on the ground(s) for possession relied on.
This is a decision that is likely to have been welcomed by many residential landlords, given it reduces the time between serving notice and commencing possession proceedings. With that said, whilst the courts are taking steps to reduce the backlog of possession cases, delays do still remain. Therefore, we are likely to see continued delays to length of possession proceedings, compared to pre-pandemic times in 2022.
Energy Efficiency Standards
As announced in the Government’s Energy White Paper, the Government announced proposal regarding the energy efficiency of residential properties. Under the proposals mentioned in the White Paper, residential landlords may be required to improve the energy efficiency rating of their properties to band C or above, by 2028. The legislation is yet to be drawn up and we wait to see how this will work in practice. However, it does appear as though residential landlords will need to take steps to improve the energy efficiency of their properties in the not-so-distant future.
In summary, residential landlords are likely to see greater regulation in 2022 and the coming years, both on the condition of their properties and the terms on which they can let, or terminate leases over the same. Therefore, landlords should seek the necessary advice, either from legal or other professionals, to ensure ongoing compliance with these changes.
How can Hanne & Co help?
Hanne & Co’s Property Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department have extensive experience in assisting residential landlords on a number of contentious matters. Should you require advice on any of the matters raised above, or any other landlord – tenant dispute, please do get in touch with our Property Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department on +44 (0) 207 228 0017 and we will be happy to assist.