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    26th April 2021

    May 11th Could See the End of Section 21 Notices

    The reopening of parliament on the 11th May is expected to see confirmation that the Renter Reform Bill will be put before parliament and begin the process of becoming law.

    The government’s agenda for the next session of parliament will be set out in the Queen’s speech, and it is widely rumoured that part of that agenda will include the bill which has been a hot-button topic for both landlords and charities representing renters.

    What is the Renter Reform Bill?

    Announced in the Queen’s Speech on 19th December 2019, the Renter Reform Bill was described as: ‘[new] measures [which] will be brought forward to protect tenants and to improve building safety.’ This was followed by a consultation titled ‘A new deal for renting: resetting the balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants’ which included a proposed end to section 21 evictions, but with a strengthening of section 8 eviction processes; and another called ‘Tenancy deposit reform: a call for evidence’ which looked ‘at whether improvements can be made to deposit protection to the benefit of tenants and landlords.’ Overall, the bill is intended to improve outcomes for tenants and landlords as well as address issues with shorthold tenancies – with a possible removal of the ability of landlords to grant them in future.

    The Government is clear. It should not matter whether you rent in the private or social sector. Tenants deserve the same high standards of services regardless of who their landlord is. But this is a two-way relationship, and landlords quite rightly expect their tenants to meet the conditions of their tenancy. Landlords need powers to enforce tenancy agreements or to remove tenants who are in significant breach of their agreements.

    What does this mean for landlords?

    For the vast majority of landlords, the bill will be of no great concern as it aims to clamp down on unfair practices and poor conditions. While the possible end of shorthold tenancies and the removal of the section 21 notice has been met with some opposition, the aim is to provide good tenants with the housing security they need to prosper. In addition, there is no mention of any end to rental increases, so landlords can still expect to implement fair rental increases over the course of a tenancy, ensuring that neither party loses out.

    What does this mean for tenants?

    For tenants, the end of section 21 – the ‘no fault’ eviction – should be welcome news. While it has been the norm for many tenants to move regularly, this proposal will allow families greater housing security and the reduction in stress and upheaval that can result from having to move house every few years. In addition, charities such as Shelter are pushing for further measures to end unfair practices, stating:

    We must continue to fight bad housing and demand that Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick scraps unfair evictions and creates a landlord database – so the stress and anxiety that come with the uncertainty of renting finally ends. But the bill will only happen if we all act now. Together we can pressure the government and make sure it stays a priority.

    What this means for Wirral

    Wirral has been attempting to combat problem landlords for years now, with selective landlord licensing in areas that have been a problem historically, so landlords in the region will be well aware of the expectations that local government has of landlords in terms of the living conditions that tenants should be able to expect, and while it may seem to be better news for tenants than landlords, the proposed changes should be seen as an opportunity to secure long-term tenants that will respect the property and provide a secure rental income for years rather than months.

    Final thoughts

    At Wirral Homes, we always attempt to provide secure housing for tenants and long term, profitable contracts for our landlords. We believe that it’s possible for both parties to be treated fairly and with respect and that this bill will simply legislate the practices of the excellent landlords we work with, and provide the kind of housing security that Wirral tenants need to make the region a better and more successful place for everyone.

    Want help negotiating changing legislation – or just looking for a letting agent to help take the stress out of managing a property portfolio? Why not Contact Us to see what we can do for you?

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