In May 2022, the UK Government confirmed it will bring forward a Renters Reform Bill for England in the coming session of Parliament. They have said that they will publish a White Paper - a policy document outlining their proposals for future legislation - ahead of the Bill.
The Renters Reform Bill will include:
- Abolition of Section 21 (so-called "no-fault evictions")
- Reformed possession grounds including new and stronger grounds for repeated rent arrears and shorter notice for antisocial behaviour
- Applying the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector for the first time
- New ombudsman for dispute resolution
- New ‘property portal’ to help landlords understand obligations, help tenants see compliance information and support local authority enforcement.
The forthcoming white paper is expected to provide further information on these and other measures, and begin a process of further consultation on the detail of the Bill.
The NRLA has welcomed the Government's decision to publish a white paper, recognising the significance of the changes for the sector. We are participating, along with other stakeholders, in roundtables chaired by Eddie Hughes MP, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, to discuss the issues.
We have set out our proposals for the private rented sector, in our report: A New Deal for the Private Rented Sector.
Alongside this, in May 2022, we published our proposals for a modernised Decent Homes Standard.
Both documents have been shared with the UK Government and other stakeholders, and are available to download below and we welcome member feedback below.
You can download our proposals which we sent to the government here.
A New Deal for the Private Rented Sector
Last updated: 23/08/2021 at 15:00 - 2.23 MB
Decent Homes and The Private Rented Sector
Last updated: 23/05/2022 at 14:03 - 962.61 KB
The NRLA is calling for:
Clear and comprehensive grounds for possession: There needs to clear and comprehensive grounds upon which landlords can legitimately regain possession of a property for when there has been a ‘fault’, and where the landlord needs to make business decisions such as selling the property, moving in, or making substantial changes.
Improved access to dispute resolution and the development of a new landlord/tenant conciliation service: to prevent, wherever possible, possession cases ending up in court in the first place. Alongside this, for those cases which do proceed to court, reforms are needed to allow them to be heard more swiftly, including greater use of tenchology to hear cases and ensuring tneants can access suitable advice and support much earlier than they currently do.
A redress scheme for the sector which can improve compliance by linking to the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN). Such a scheme would make the need for a separate national register of landlords redundant. A redress scheme should also be accompanied by a full review to establish if certain types of local landlord licensing schemes are still required.
A review of enforcement: The UK Government should work with local authorities to conduct an assessment of the ability of relevant departments to enforce the wide range of powers already available to them to tackle criminal landlords. Alongside this, central government needs to provide upfront, multi-year funding to held councils build their capacity to tackle bad practice.
Lifetime deposits: It is vital that the new system in no way discourages landlords from making valid claims for damage to properties. Landlords cannot be expected to give up their right of recourse to a security deposit until such time that they are satisfied there will be no need to make a claim against it.
Alongside this, in May 2022, we published our proposals for a modernised Decent Homes Standard, based on three core criteria.
- All rental properties must meet the statutory minimum standard for housing and in so doing must be free of category one hazards.
- All rental properties must be in a decent state of repair.
- All rental properties must meet the statutory minimum for energy efficiency.
In addition we propose providing tenants with an online property 'passport' that sets out how the property meets the Decent Homes Standard and allows them to check compliance with safety requirements.
Why are we campaigning on this issue?
The Government's White Paper and the forthcoming Renters Reform Bill will propose some of the biggest changes to renting in England for over 30 years. Our organisational objective is a private rented sector that works for all. We do not believe that reforms need be a zero-sum game that pits tenants and landlords against each other in a struggle for advantage. Rather, a collaborative approach will benefit everyone living and legitimately working in the sector.
What we’re doing
We have worked with our membership and stakeholders and partners across the sector over the past two years to refine our proposals. These have been sent to the UK Government and we are also participating in stakeholder roundtable discussions on the key policy questions at the heart of the forthcoming White Paper.
We will continue to engage members on the proposals in the coming months, through our website, social media, emails and webinars, and keep members updated on developments. We also aim to share landlords' stories to showcase real life examples of the challenges faced.
How we got here
Following a consultation on the abolition of Section 21 in summer 2019, the Conservative Party’s 2019 General Election Manifesto committed to abolishing so-called ‘no fault’ evictions through ending Section 21, and also said they would introduce lifetime deposits for tenants. On election, the UK Government announced in their December 2019 Queen's Speech that they would be bringing forward a Renters' Reform Bill to effect these changes.
The NRLA published our report, Striking a Balance: Proposals for the Renters' Reform Bill, in December 2020.
Due to the impact of the pandemic, the Renters' Reform Bill was not brought forward in the 2019-2021 session of Parliament. However, the Queen's Speech in May 2021 outlined the Government's intention to publish a white paper - a policy paper setting out their legislative plans - on rental reform in autumn 2021. The Government has been consulting with stakeholders, including the NRLA, ahead of publication of the White Paper, and has now pushed publication back to 2022 to allow more time for engagement.
We published our own shadow White Paper - A New Deal for the Private Rented Sector - in summer 2021 outlining how we believe the Government can achieve the balance needed to ensure a private rented sector that works for all.
We have consulted the NRLA membership on these proposals so we can represent our members' views to government. We’ve gathered stories of landlords experiences with possession, and engaged members through surveys, workshops and webinars.
The Government's Levelling Up White Paper, published in February 2022, recommitted to rental reform including the abolition of Section 21. It also said that the Government would consult on the application of the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector for the first time.
In May 2022, the Queen's Speech confirmed that a Renters Reform Bill would be brought forward in the forthcoming session of Parliament. This will be preceded by the publication of the Government's White Paper, which will also begin a process of further consultation and engagement on details of the proposals.
Share your feedback
We want to hear from you what you think of our proposals to government, your thoughts on rental reform, and your experiences with possession.
The existing Decent Homes Standard was written two decades ago for a different sector, facing different challenges, with a lengthy implementation plan.
In order to meet issues head on we need a revised standard, designed for all rented homes, and an appropriate timetable.
Our proposals take the best from existing regulations and make it easier for landlords and tenants to apply them.
NRLA proposals for a new Decent Homes Standard were the focus of a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the PRS today. During the meeting in Westminster this morning, policy director Chris Norris outlined the associationâ€™s plans, which include proposals for â€˜property passportsâ€™.
The NRLA has published its response to the Government's proposal to extend the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector. In its response, the NRLA suggests that 'property passports' could be introduced to help landlords demonstrate their properties are compliant with regulations.
NRLA policy director Chris Norris writes about a recent visit to Downing Street for talks with Number 10 housing advisers.
Today's Queen's Speech saw the UK Government re-commit to a Renters Reform Bill, including the abolition of Section 21 while also strengthening landlords' rights to possession through new grounds. NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle explains what happens next.