Millions of UK landlords will be adversely affected by the Renters Reform Bill, a solicitor warns - the latest law expert to identify the dangers of the legislation for buy to let investors.
The Bill, currently going through Parliament and expected to become law next year, will include a number of measures but is chiefly to satisfy activists’ demand to abolish the Section 21 notice.
Kristy Ainge - solicitor-advocate in the litigation team at Brindley Twist Tafft & James - says: “The main change is that a landlord cannot ask a tenant to leave if, for example, they want to move a friend into their property, or if for any reason they just don’t like them.
“The only way they can evict their tenants who are ‘not at fault’ is if they want to live there themselves, or move an immediate family member in, or if they want to sell the property. Even then, it will not be a quick process, because, if a landlord wishes to move into the property themselves, they cannot serve notice within the first 6 months of the tenancy”.
The changes will also allow tenancies to roll month by month meaning landlords who previously were entitled to six or 12 months’ tenancies will now be periodic and determined by the frequency that rent is paid. This gives tenants much more flexibility and removes the security for landlords knowing they have a tenant in situ for 6 or 12 months.
The reforms will give more rights to tenants who want to keep pets too. Under current legislation a blanket ban on all pets is allowed.
Most landlords take advantage of the ban for fear of potential damage caused by the animals to the property. Under new proposals, still to be discussed, a tenant has the right to request to keep a pet and the landlord will have no right to refuse the request without good reason. However, they may ask their tenant to cover pet insurance and home insurance to cover any damage.
Tenants who fall behind with the rent or who are causing anti-social behaviour are not protected by the laws and may still be evicted by their landlord in the usual way under the section 8 notice regime.
Ainge adds: “The new reforms will give tenants more protection but restricts what landlords can do with their own properties. There are expected to be some exceptions such as private student lets, though this is yet to be confirmed."