Industry News Sam Hunter 12/04/2024

Landlords welcome pragmatic amendments to rental reform plans

Landlords are urging MPs to back pragmatic changes to the Renters (Reform) Bill to ensure it works for the private rented sector as a whole.

The call comes as the Conservative MP, Anthony Mangnall, along with colleagues, has tabled a series of amendments ahead of the Report stage of the Bill. These include proposals to:

•    Enact the recommendations of the cross-party housing select committee that tenants be unable to give notice to leave a property until they have been in it for at least four months when fixed term tenancies end. The Committee has previously noted that: “A reasonable balance needs to be struck between security of tenure for tenants and a degree of certainty for landlords.”

•    Enable evidence such as texts or emails from neighbours to be taken into account by the courts when deciding if a tenant has engaged in anti-social behaviour.

•    Address concerns that the courts are not prepared for the impact of the end of section 21 repossessions by requiring the Government to publish a review of the operation of possession proceedings in the courts before it is abolished.  The Law Society has previously warned that: “The courts are vastly overstretched: possession claims and the eviction process can take many months, sometimes more.” It continued: “The government should outline how it intends to manage increased demand on the courts and what additional resourcing it will put in place to deal with existing backlogs.”

•    Prevent a costly duplication of efforts by ending the use of landlord selective licensing schemes by councils when the national Property Portal covering the private rented sector is established.

•    Protect the annual cycle of all types of student housing by extending the Government’s proposed ground for possession to achieve this to one- and two-bedroom student properties, not just Houses in Multiple Occupation. 

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said:

“We accept that section 21 is going and agree that tenants need to feel empowered to challenge the actions of rogue and criminal landlords. However, amidst a supply crisis in the rental market, it is vital that the Bill has the confidence of responsible landlords.

“These pragmatic changes would go a long way towards striking the balance between the needs of renters and the majority of landlords who do right by their tenants”.

If you'd like to read more about the amendments which have been tabled, click here to access further details.