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Are you ready for the biggest changes to the rented sector for 30 years?

renters reform bill

Landlords are to face one of the most significant changes to how they rent out properties in their lifetimes once the Renters (Reform) Bill becomes law.

Although the legislation is currently the subject of much political bartering as it goes through parliament and may change, it’s safe to say that several of it measures will become reality.

LandlordZONE sat down with two experts in this field who work at estate agency the Leaders Romans Group to get their advice on what the looming changes to ‘pets with lets’, evictions and the transition to periodic tenancies will means for millions of landlords in England when the legislation goes live.

The duo are Kim Lidbury (main image, inset right), the agency’s Group Director of Property Management and Donna Wright (left), its Head of Quality and Customer Care.

They will be presenting a free webinar on April 24th looking at the whole Bill including its other proposals including a mandatory Property Portal, compulsory membership of a redress scheme for landlords and the introduction of a ombudsman for tenants. To join them for free, visit the sign-up page.

Q: Will landlords be forced to take tenants with pets?

“Landlords have to be aware that tenants will be able to ask for consent to have a pet and landlords will have to give them a reason for not accepting their request,” says Kim.

“But the grounds for refusing a request are still being worked on but they may include issues such as allergies among fellow tenants (in shared houses), head lease restrictions and a property’s suitability – i.e. a small one-bedroom flat is not a great place to keep a big dog.

“If a landlord says no, then our understanding is the tenant will be able to take the landlord to the ombudsman and test that decision with a view that they have been turned down unfairly,” says Donna.

Kim and Donna also point out landlords will be able to ask that tenants with pets have extra insurance. The law is going to be changed so that landlords and agents will be able to charge tenants for a policy that will insure against pet damage.

Q: Will abolishing Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions make it more difficult to eject problem tenants?

“The vast majority of tenancies are ended by tenants who want or need to move, and most landlords only serve tenants a Section 21 when they want to sell, move back into a property themselves, accommodate family members or when tenants get into significant rent arrears,” says Kim.

“The beefed-up Section 8 eviction process will enable landlords to require tenants to leave a property for the same reasons, and the legislation includes more powers for landlords to deal with anti-social tenants.”

Donna adds: “Abolishing Section 21 is to stop unscrupulous landlords from evicting tenants who complain about poor maintenance of their home – so-called ‘revenge evictions’.

“But for all this to work, the courts need to be improved.”

Q: Will the move to periodic tenants (from fixed-term ASTs) mean contracts won’t have to be renewed every year?

“Yes, that is true – the Bill will move us from ASTs which have a fixed end date (usually after six or twelve months), to rolling periodic tenancies which will run from month to month with no end date,” says Kim.

“In the future the only way to end the tenancy will be for the landlords to serve a Section 8 notice, or for the tenant to give the relevant notice in the contract, which is likely to be two months after the initial six months – although that’s not been set in stone yet.”

Donna adds: “The point made by landlords is that it’s unfair for them, to spend money finding a tenant, getting the property ready and so on for the tenant then to be free to move out a few months later”.

Join the webinar on the 24th April via the sign up page.


Renters reform bill
Leaders romans group