The Renters Reform Bill: What it is and Why it Matters
Updated: Apr 11
The Renters Reform Bill is a proposed piece of legislation in the UK that seeks to bring about significant changes to the private rented sector. It was first introduced in the Queen's Speech in December 2019, and has since gone through several rounds of consultation and scrutiny. While the bill has not yet been passed into law, it is worth examining what the proposed changes are and what they could mean for renters and landlords alike.
The main aim of the Renters Reform Bill is to increase protections for renters and to make renting a more secure and stable option for those who choose or have no choice but to rent. Among the proposed changes are:
Abolishing "no-fault" evictions: Currently, landlords in England and Wales can evict tenants without giving a reason once their fixed-term contract has ended. This is known as a "no-fault" eviction or a section 21 eviction. The Renters Reform Bill seeks to abolish this practice, giving renters more security and stability in their homes.
Introducing "lifetime" deposits: Under the current system, renters are often required to pay a security deposit when they move into a new property. This deposit is meant to cover any damage to the property or unpaid rent at the end of the tenancy. However, many renters struggle to get their deposit back, either because their landlord refuses to return it or because they are unable to prove that they left the property in good condition. The Renters Reform Bill proposes the introduction of "lifetime" deposits, which would follow the renter from property to property and be held in a centralised system.
Improving property standards: The bill includes provisions to strengthen minimum standards for rented properties. This would include measures such as ensuring that all properties meet certain energy efficiency standards, and giving renters the right to take legal action against landlords who fail to maintain their properties.
Increasing access to longer-term tenancies: The bill proposes giving renters the right to request longer-term tenancies from their landlords, which would provide more stability and security for renters who want to put down roots in a particular area.
These changes have been welcomed by many renters' rights groups, who argue that they will go a long way towards addressing some of the problems with the current rental market. However, some landlord groups have expressed concern that the changes will make it harder for them to evict problem tenants or to run their properties as a business.
While the Renters Reform Bill has not yet been passed into law, it is clear that the private rental sector is facing significant changes in the coming years. Whether you are a renter or a landlord, it is important to stay informed about these changes and to understand how they may affect you. Ultimately, the goal of the Renters Reform Bill is to create a fairer and more equitable rental market, where both renters and landlords can thrive.