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Reform Bill: Landlords brace for 'challenging' notice periods

moving home tenants

Tenants could effectively move in and give notice the same day under proposals in the Renters (Reform) Bill.

The draft legislation scraps assured shorthold tenancies in favour of periodic tenancies, while rental periods can only be 28 days or one month. Tenants will be able to stay until they decide to end the tenancy by giving two months' notice or the landlord can evidence a valid ground for possession. Landlords won't be able to use grounds for moving in, selling or redevelopment for the first six months of the tenancy.

Shorter notice

Property lawyer at JMW, David Smith, explains that notice periods are likely to be the change that most substantially alters the sector on a day-to-day basis. 'It has implications for short letting, for agency fee models, and for how landlords set rents,'� he says.

Landlords will be fined by local authorities if they try to give tenants a fixed term tenancy longer than a month, while they face a fine if they fail to give their tenant a new written statement that includes a record of terms. 'This will be a risk area for a lot of landlords and agents but in reality, it brings England into line with the other parts of the UK,'� adds Smith.

Potentially contested

In a move to combat the cost-of-living crisis, rent increases will be limited to once a year and the minimum notice landlords must provide of any change in rent will be increased to two months using a section 13 notice, which can be potentially contested before a tribunal.

However, there is no detail in the Bill about how these changes would affect student landlords who fear open-ended tenancies mean they won't be able to guarantee accommodation will be available for the start of each academic year, unless sitting tenants have handed in their notice to leave.

NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle says the government must recognise these serious concerns. 'Without the ability to plan around the academic year, students will have no certainty that properties will be available to rent when they need them.'�

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