The UK government has announced plans to abolish “no-fault” evictions, which allow landlords to reclaim possession of their property from tenants without providing a reason. The Renters’ (Reform) Bill is set to be published later, three-and-a-half years after the government made a manifesto promise to tackle the issue.
The new bill will also grant tenants the legal right to request permission to keep pets in their homes. Landlords will be required to consider such requests and will not be able to unreasonably refuse. The government plans to establish an ombudsman to oversee dispute resolutions.
Impact on Tenants and Landlords
The bill will affect around 11 million tenants and two million landlords, according to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. It will also make it easier for landlords to evict anti-social tenants, with reduced notice periods for “irresponsible” renters.
The proposed legislation will also make it illegal for landlords and agents to impose blanket bans on benefits claimants or families with children. Home quality standards will be applied to the private sector for the first time.
Campaigners have welcomed the bill as a “once-in-a-generation” announcement. However, some have warned that property owners may still find ways to circumvent the new laws, such as using large rent hikes to force out unwanted tenants.
Dan Wilson Craw, acting director of Generation Rent, a campaign group, said that abolishing “no-fault” evictions would improve communication and trust between tenants and landlords. Battersea Cats and Dogs Home has said that the proposed law will reduce the number of animals being separated from their owners, while Dogs Trust believes the reforms could be a “potential gamechanger” for responsible dog owners who rent.
Siobhan Donnachie, spokeswoman for the London Renters Union, said that the bill was “long overdue” but warned that inflation-busting rent hikes could still make renters feel insecure. Lisa Nandy, the shadow housing secretary, has said that the Labour Party plans to introduce further measures, including a four-month notice period for landlords, a national register of landlords, and new rights for tenants to make alterations to their homes and request speedy repairs.
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