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Renter Reform Bill

News Flash – Renters (Reform) Bill

News Flash Renters (Reform) Bill

“no fault” eviction to be abolished but new grounds proposed

The Government published the Renters (Reform) Bill today (17.05.23).

The headline in the press and promoted by the Government is the abolishing of so called “no fault” evictions pursuant to what is known as a Section 21 Notice.

This means that landlords will not be able to take proceedings against tenants without proving a substantive ground for doing so.

The quid pro quo to this is the amendment to grounds that currently exist and introduction of some new grounds which will provide more options for landlords. The key changes that I think will affect most private residential landlords are:

  • New ground that a tenant can be evicted if the landlord, or a close member of his family including parents, children and grandchildren require the property as their “only or principal home”.
  • New ground of proposed sale of the property: A landlord can get possession of a property if he/she “intends to sell the dwelling house” (“selling” apparently includes “transferring”).
  • New ground for rent arrears that possession will be granted if at least two months’ rent was unpaid for at least a day on three separate occasions in the previous three years. This is designed to tackle cases where tenants keep rent arrears below the two months’ threshold at key times to prevent repossession order being made.

All the above grounds are termed “mandatory” which means that if they are proven a Judge must make an Order.

Things that strike me are that:

  • There is no indication what sort of evidence a court will need to prove that a property is required to be the principal home of any family member.
  • Similarly, there is no information as to how a landlord will prove that he or she “intends to sell” the property. Intention is in the mind of the individual who does or is proposing to do something so I assume that the landlord will have to give evidence of that intention perhaps backed up with evidence from an estate agent.
  • The additional ground concerning rent arrears will give landlords another option for tenants who are persistently in arrears but have, under the current rules, never fallen under a mandatory ground.

Obviously this is a Bill and not legislation yet and will be subject to discussion and amendment by the Houses of Parliament before coming into force.

If you are a landlord and you have any concerns about a current tenant and what action you may be able to take against them please contact Kate Barnes, Head of Dispute Resolution at Kerseys Solicitors in Ipswich on 01473213311 or Kerseys Solicitors in Colchester on 01206584584 or email us at [email protected], alternatively you can visit our web site and click “Call Me Back” and a member of our Dispute Resolution team will be happy to contact you.

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