The government is currently considering new standards for UK rented homes. The new rules could impact landlords as tenants who fall behind on payments could find themselves without a home. The new regulations will also include new mandatory grounds for eviction, including moving out of a property or selling it.
Renters Reform Bill
The Renters Reform Bill under consideration by Parliament will make the rules about landlords and tenants more equal. It aims to stop landlords locking tenants into rent increases that don’t reflect market value. The law will also prevent tenants from paying for more than one month’s rent in advance. Landlords will also have a limit on the amount of rent they can demand in advance.
The Bill will also create an ombudsman for renters, who can take complaints against landlords without going to court. In addition, tenants will be able to track landlords’ performance and hold them accountable for it. Also, landlords will be prevented from banning certain groups from renting their properties. Tenants will also be able to ask landlords to allow them to have pets, and landlords will be forced to comply with tenants’ requests.
Under the new legislation, landlords will no longer be allowed to carry out no-fault evictions. Instead, landlords will have to use the contested process under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. This means landlords must prove certain grounds and provide their tenants with two months’ notice in order to proceed with eviction.
The Government’s renters reform bill will make it easier for renters to move out of substandard housing. The changes will be phased in, so tenants have more time to find another home. The first implementation date will be six months from now. Once that date arrives, all existing tenancies will transition into the new system.
Decent Homes Standard
The government has announced plans to extend the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector, in order to “redress the balance between landlords and tenants”. The new standards will require landlords to ensure that their homes are in good condition and do not present any health and safety hazards. They will also require landlords to ensure that tenants have access to clean and suitable facilities. If successful, the new regulations will help millions of families live in decent homes.
The Government’s proposals are intended to prevent the deterioration of the quality of rented homes in the UK, which is estimated to be a fifth of all homes. The new standards will force landlords to make rented homes safe and clean, and will support its aim to halve the proportion of non-decent properties by 2030.
While the Decent Homes Standard is non-statutory, it is based on a series of criteria that a landlord must follow to ensure that the property is fit for habitation. During a survey conducted by the Good Home Inquiry, it was revealed that more than 4.3 million homes in England failed to meet these criteria, and many were dangerous to their occupants’ health. This is a significant figure, as nearly one in three adults in the UK do not have a stable home.
The government is attempting to make these standards legal for all rented homes in England. This is part of its “Levelling Up” agenda. Research shows that a decent home is crucial to good health and has been linked to higher death rates. Furthermore, the recent COVID pandemic has highlighted the importance of a decent quality of home, with many renters being too scared to report repair issues for fear of being evicted, losing their home, or being charged a higher rent.
Impact on landlords
The government has set out a number of measures to improve the quality and safety of UK rented homes. In particular, the reforms aim to strengthen the role of local councils as enforcement bodies. This new system of enforcing standards will help landlords prove compliance with legal requirements and safeguard tenants against rogue landlords.
New energy efficiency standards for rented homes will force landlords to spend money on insulating their properties. This will help cut carbon emissions and save money on energy bills. In addition, landlords will be required to provide updated EPCs and will not be able to advertise a property with an EPC rating below ‘C’.
These reforms will help tenants to be more confident about remaining in their property – and should also help landlords regain possession of properties quickly. Furthermore, they will make it easier for landlords to resolve disputes and ensure that tenants are not evicted for no fault of their own.
New rules also protect tenants by allowing them to make complaints about their rented home to an Ombudsman instead of going to court. The Ombudsman can order landlords to put things right, provide information or even compensate tenants. Moreover, landlords will also be required to join a government-approved redress scheme, which can be a helpful way to deal with problems that arise in rented homes.