What we know about the Renters Reform Bill
The Government has announced plans for a string of reforms for renters with a view to making it better for renters and providing more support for those renting.
For now, we don’t know the details but in Autumn we’re going to see a white paper from the Government highlighting what changes they’ll be making and what it means for renters, campaigners and landlords. Once the reforms have been considered by experts and stakeholders, the Government will bring it into legislation.
The decision to start with publishing a white paper will be welcomed by campaigners, who thought plans would be rushed through and not thought out very well. Though we don’t know what the exact reforms will be, we do know what kind of reforms the Government plans to include.
Firstly, the Government is expected to provide support for tenants and put a focus on tenancy rights. It looks like there could be a possible proposal for banning “no fault” evictions to prevent tenants being kicked out for no reason. However, the Government also wants to give more power to landlords to repossess flats “with valid cause” and look at whether the repossession courts process could be more efficient.
There also could be proposals for a lifetime tenancy deposit model, meaning tenants wouldn’t need to keep producing a deposit every time they move and would provide more clarity for renters.
Standards of accommodation are also set to get an overhaul too with ministers promising to introduce reforms to improve the standards of rented accommodations. Including better enforcement and crackdowns on criminal landlords. Ministers also want to make sure that all private landlords belong to a redress scheme, which tenants have the right to use, and see if a landlord register would help.
Within the reforms, we’ll also see the Government deliver Social Housing White Paper proposals, including implementing the Charter for Social Housing Residents, but nothing has been seen on this yet and some campaigners accuse the Government of showing “disinterest in our housing crisis.”
A Leasehold Reform bill was also announced, which will ensure leaseholders of new, long residential leases can’t be shared a financial ground rent for no service. A Building Safety Bill, introduced following the Grenfell Tower fire and cladding scandal, will highlight recommendations to improve the safety of buildings and establish a new regulator.
There was also a new planning bill, designed to create a simpler, faster and more modern planning system. Though there are concerns that it doesn’t do enough for the development of homes in more areas that are affordable for first time buyers and those on low incomes.
These will all be welcome plans but, the devil is in the details. We will all be waiting for the full white paper before we make any judgments on the Renters Reform Bill, but hopefully they will include reforms and plans that look to get us out of the housing crisis that we’re still in.
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