Renters Reform Bill 2023: Landlords Speak Out
On 17 May 2023, the Government introduced The Renters Reform Bill with plans to make a fairer rental market and address the housing crisis. It’s described as “the biggest shake-up of the private sector in 30 years”.
We work with hundreds of landlords to find vetted and trusted tenants, so we asked them how they feel about the Bill and how it will impact the market. You can find out more about how we support landlords here.
What is the Renters Reform Bill?
The Renters Reform Bill is the Government's plan to fundamentally change the private rented sector and better the housing crisis. The Government says it "will deliver a fairer, more secure, and higher quality private rented sector for both tenants and landlords."
It's been brought in following the 2022 white paper "A Fairer Private Rented Sector", which sets out new measures to improve tenants' rights and the housing quality in the UK. It also follows the 2019 Conservative party Manifesto promising the abolition of "no-fault evictions", also known as Section 21 proceedings, which allows landlords to evict tenants without any explicit reason.
It's said that renters can face "a precarious lack of security" and highlights that nearly a quarter of privately rented homes "do not meet basic decency standards". The plans are to apply a Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector.
While the Renters Reform Bill promises a better housing market for both renters and landlords, it's widely considered a more favourable treatment of renters. And responsible landlords are facing issues by being "undercut by a minority of criminal landlords".
The Bill will need to pass through Parliament before coming into law, but there is a demand to see the Bill come in as quickly as possible. However, a timeline has yet to be set.
What are the key outcomes of the Renters Reform Bill?
Here we summarise the main changes introduced by the Bill:
- Abolish section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and move to a more straightforward tenancy structure where all assured tenancies are periodic (no fixed end date), meaning:
- It will not be possible to require a tenant to commit to a minimum term
- Tenants will be able to terminate the tenancy on serving two months’ notice at any time
- Landlords can only seek to terminate the tenancy if they can make out at least one of the statutory grounds under the revised section 8 notice. These include:
- If the landlord intends to sell
- If a family member of the landlord requires the property as their home
- At least two months’ rent unpaid or at three separate occasions within a three year period
- If the tenant is “capable of causing” anti-social behaviour
- New notice periods increased from 2 to 4 weeks
- Introduce stronger protections by enabling tenants to appeal against excessive above-market rents designed to force them out
- Tenants will have the right to request a pet which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse
- There will also be financial penalties for landlords that breach specific provisions within the Bill, and some breaches will constitute a criminal offence.
For more detail or the latest information you can read about the Renters Reform Bill on the UK GOV website.
We asked landlords what they think
One month since the Government introduced the Renters Reform Bill, we reached out to landlords to hear how they felt about it, how they felt it would impact the industry and their thoughts for the future.
We have anonymised the names of the landlords and summarised their three main takeaways about the renter's Bill:
Takeaway one: Defeatism & frustration
- “It's very toxic out there at the moment, I mean I don't expect anyone to pull out their tiny violins for landlords but many landlords are looking at the mortgage rates going up and looking at their tenants situations not improving and being stuck wondering if the burden should be shared and how, all the while, the hatred towards landlords seems to be increasing online”
- “We (landlords) have been vilified so much, and unfortunately my defeatism has won over. I don’t need to invest in this environment so I’ve chosen to take my money elsewhere… Easily, I can earn 5.5% with £6000 interest tax free for doing absolutely nothing vs 14 months of trying to get back my now trashed property from a dysfunctional section 8 court system (seeing is believing).”
- “It’s (the Bill) uncosted, unrealistic, diversionary in focusing on financial penalties and offences for private landlords rather than addressing core issues and enforcing existing legislation adequately.”
Takeaway two: Uncertainty & fear
- “I’ll be honest, I don’t know what to make of it, it feels like not many landlords want to lose section 21 but on the other hand, unscrupulous landlords may start finding any excuse to class their tenant as antisocial so they can throw their tenant out in 2 weeks...I mean you can't fit that many checks and balances into 2 weeks so I don't think it's good for the tenant either.”
- “I’m a portfolio landlord. It’s really tough to be a landlord in the UK now, the government is doing everything it can to push us out. At the moment you can’t make money with a mortgage above 50% of the property value and the market has to tank soon as the interest rates have priced everyone out of the market.”
Takeaway three: Tired of private housing receiving the blame
- “Blaming landlords is lazy, blame the lack of social housing and planning laws that let house builders wiggle out of building affordable homes.”
- “I would argue that private renting has destroyed secure social housing, no one rents out property for the good of tenants, it's an investment, people are just a vehicle to exploit.”
- “There is very little social housing, all the council houses got sold off…How have landlords renting property destroyed the virtually non existent social housing? All my rentals are in better condition than my own house, all significantly below market rent and I look after my tenants, they have secure lifelong housing which the government no longer provides.”
- “There needs to be a good supply of both private rental homes and social housing, we need both. Unfortunately there’s very little social housing and landlords leaving in droves which is why so many are struggling. I get 50+ applications in the first few days of putting a house up for rent.”
How Hybr can help
At Hybr, we know many of our landlords personally and have worked with them since we first launched.
We have always strived to support our landlords and will continue to do so as they are now having to make very tough decisions. Our services are designed to streamline rental processes, ensuring you all reduce your voids, achieve the best returns and fill your properties with our pre-vetted tenants.
In fact, speaking with our landlords about the bill, we were thrilled to hear that we have reduced their stress through our services and, as we launch into new locations around the UK, we look forward to being able to support landlords nationwide.
If you'd like to talk to us about our services and how we can help you on your landlord journey, you can call us today on +44 20396 64594 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.