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Category: renters reform bill
As the Renters Reform Bill progresses through the legislative process, UK landlords are urging MPs to consider amendments that would strengthen the Bill for the entire private rental sector.
Spearheaded by Conservative MP Anthony Mangnall, a series of changes have been proposed just before the reporting stage goes ahead. These changes aim to address various concerns the private rental sector has about the Bill, and aim to strike a balance between tenant and landlord concerns.
Key proposed amendments
Notice periods and tenure security
One of the proposals made by Mangnall and his team is for tenants to be unable to give notice to leave a property until they have resided in it for a minimum of four months, when fixed-term tenancies end. This recommendation intends to strike a reasonable balance between providing tenants with security and providing landlords with assurance of income.
Evidence in anti-social behaviour cases
Another noteworthy proposal seeks to address the problem of evicting anti-social tenants. Mangnall wants to allow evidence such as SMS messages or emails from neighbours to be considered by the courts, when determining whether a tenant has engaged in anti-social behaviour. This amendment could arguably enhance the judicial process by allowing first-hand information from the local community.
Preparing courts for the removal of Section 21 repossessions
Once Section 21 evictions are abolished, and landlords are left with no option but to start Section 8 court-proceedings, there have been justified concerns as to whether the courts will be able to withstand the workload. There are efforts to streamline the eviction court process, but Mangnall is calling for further action.
His proposal calls for a government review of the court proceedings before abolishing Section 21. He hopes that by shedding light on the true current state of the courts, it may incentivise law makers to hold off abolishing Section 21 evictions until the courts are properly bolstered.
Ending selective licensing
Another of the amendments calls for an end to landlord selective licensing schemes by councils, once the national Property Portal for the private rented sector is set up. This move seeks to eliminate work being doubled up as both processes are intended to achieve similar outcomes.
Protection for student housing
Lastly, the Bill’s ‘grounds for possession’ did not include all types of student lets, another proposed amendment by Mangnall asks for the Bill to encompass one and two bedroom properties as well as houses of multiple occupation (HMO).
NRLA chief executive supports the proposals
National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) CEO, Ben Beadle, had this to say:
We accept that section 21 is going and agree that tenants need to feel empowered to challenge the actions of rogue and criminal landlords. However, amidst a supply crisis in the rental market, it is vital that the bill has the confidence of responsible landlords.
"[…] These pragmatic changes would go a long way towards striking the balance between the needs of renters and the majority of landlords who do right by their tenants.
A large proportion of landlords have roundly opposed the withdrawal of Section 21, with many fearful of court repossessions. So, of all the amendments put forward by Anthony Mangnall, making it easier to tackle troublesome tenants may be the most welcome, if the proposals are accepted.
The Reporting process involves consideration and debate of all proposed amendments to the Bill, so its conclusion will bring a great deal of clarity for landlords as to what will be presented to the House of Lords.