Change To The Renters (Reform) Bill - CHG

Change To The Renters (Reform) Bill Means A 2 year Wait

Labour’s shadow housing secretary, Matthew Pennycook, has proposed a significant change to the Renters (Reform) Bill which would require landlords to wait two years from the start of a tenancy before they can sell or move back into their property.

The change to the Renters (Reform) Bill is one of a raft of amendments that could be added.

MPs are set to debate the amendment in Parliament tomorrow (Wednesday), including the postponement of the abolition of Section 21 evictions until the court system has been improved.

Not all the amendments will be debated – there are 112 pages of 200 amendments – and many will be agreed on procedural grounds.

The Speaker will decide which amendments will be debated – and the number depends on the time for debate before a vote takes place.

Section 21 could be abolished when Royal Assent is given

However, another of Mr Pennycook’s amendments would see Section 21 being abolished when Royal Assent is given – not when the court system has been upgraded and backlogs cleared.

Propertymark has stated that these amendments will bring about key change to the Renters (Reform) Bill.

Another proposal is the establishment of an initial minimum tenancy, effectively creating a default fixed term of six months in all contracts. This mirrors a standard break clause in many existing contracts.

The original version of the Bill would have allowed tenants to end a tenancy with two months’ notice at any point.

Propertymark argued that this could lead to poor outcomes for both landlords and renters.

Allowing landlords to evict students living together
The government will now ensure that a mandatory possession ground, allowing landlords to evict students living together in an HMO, applies to any property let to students.

But only if landlords write their intention to use the student possession ground into the tenancy agreement.

To prevent duplication with the introduction of the new property portal, the government will conduct a review of selective licensing and the licensing of HMOs to reduce burdens on landlords.

The Lord Chancellor will also be required to publish an assessment on barriers to possession and the readiness of the courts in advance of abolishing Section 21 for existing tenancies.

The Secretary of State will also be obliged to carry out an independent review of the new law and report to Parliament on the effectiveness of the new possession grounds.

There will also be a review of the impact of moving to periodic tenancies and abolishing fixed terms within 18 months of the measures being applied to existing tenancies.

Additionally, an annual parliamentary update on the state of the private rented sector, including data on the supply, size and location of properties, will be provided.

‘The importance of retaining fixed-term tenancies’

Propertymark’s head of policy and campaigns, Timothy Douglas, said: “Throughout the passage of the Bill, Propertymark has worked hard to highlight the importance of retaining fixed-term tenancies and the need for improvements to the court system if the abolition of Section 21 is to work.

“Whilst these amendments show that Ministers have listened to our concerns, there are still areas that need further clarity.”

He added: “We are continuing to engage with officials at DLUHC, the Minister and Parliamentarians as the Bill moves to its next stage.”

Amendments proposed for the Renters (Reform) Bill
Other amendments proposed for the Renters (Reform) Bill, include:

From Mr Pennycook there’s an amendment that would see the abolition of section 21 evictions coming into force on Royal Assent, with provisions for any notices served before that date.

He has also tabled an amendment to maintain the homelessness prevention duty owed by local authorities to tenants who have received an eviction notice to vacate a property – and for this to be extended to notices for possession issued under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988.

Not inviting or encouraging bids for rent: Landlords will have to advertise the rent and must not invite offers in excess of that amount to prevent tenant bidding wars.

Plus, he is asking for a government review within two years of the law being introduced to review the impact of the changes to grounds for possession.

The Labour MP also wants to introduce a blanket ban on landlords refusing to rent to families with children and those on benefits and for the landlords’ database to record details of notices of possession served by a landlord in respect of each dwelling of which they are the landlord.

Other amendments to the Renters (Reform) Bill:
Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke has tabled an amendment that ‘would require landlords to pay a ‘relocation payment’ to tenants when evicting them from their property within two years of the start of the tenancy, except on the grounds of crime and antisocial behaviour.

Helen Morgan has tabled an amendment ‘that a landlord cannot let a property as a short-term or holiday let for at least three months after taking ownership of the property for the purposes of them or their family occupying it.’

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