The Queen’s Speech has confirmed that a radical re-shaping of the rental sector in England is being pushed ahead by the government.
Although the relatively brief speech delivered by Prince Charles - deputising for Her Majesty - made superficial reference to housing and planning, details released just after the speech put flesh on the bones.
A Bill will abolish what the government has called 'no fault' evictions - section 21 evictions - “giving renters better rights when they are told to leave despite complying with the terms of their tenancy.”
The details also say that there will be additional reform of landlords' grounds for possession to give them greater powers to tackle repeated rent arrears or anti-social behaviour among tenants.
In addition, a new ombudsman for private rented landlords will ensure disputes can be easily resolved without going to court.
“These reforms will help more people own their own homes” according to the government.
The Leasehold Reform Act 2022 will come into force on 30 June, and this will - amongst other things - stop landlords requiring ground rent for new long residential leases.
It will also mean banning new leasehold houses to ensure that all new houses built are freehold.
The government has given details of the Renters Reform Bill, which will:
- remove Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 providing in the government’s words “security for tenants in the private rented sector and empowering them to challenge poor practice and unfair rent increases without fear of retaliatory eviction”
- reform possession grounds for landlords, “introducing new and stronger grounds for repeated incidences of rent arrears and reducing notice periods for anti-social behaviour, ensuring that they can regain their property efficiently when needed”;
- apply the legally binding Decent Homes Standard in the Private Rented Sector for the first time ever, giving tenants safer, better quality and better value homes;
- introduce a new Ombudsman for private landlords “so that disputes can easily be resolved without the need to go to court, which is often costly and lengthy, and ensure that when residents make a complaint, landlords take action to put things right”;
- introduce a new property portal to help landlords understand their obligations, give tenants performance information to hold their landlord to account as well as aiding local authorities.
And the government says: “We will shortly publish a White Paper which will set out more detail on our proposals for landmark reform in the private rented sector."