New reforms to protect renters confirmed – including an ombudsman for complaints and a ban on 'no fault' evictions
Renters in England can no longer be evicted for no reason under a new bill introduced by the Government this week – though the rules are yet to take effect. The Renters Reform Bill will also see the introduction of an ombudsman for private tenants among other measures.
The bill was announced during the state reopening of Parliament this week (Tuesday 10 May), though it's not yet clear when the legislation will formally take force and a white paper is expected to be published on it "shortly".
Changes that will be introduced under the bill, which applies to residents in England, include:
- Abolishing the 'no fault' Section 21 eviction rule. Currently, landlords can evict tenants whose fixed-term contract has ended for no reason. If asked to move out, a tenant then has two months to leave the property. This new bill will stop landlords from doing this without a concrete reason.
- Creating a new private renters' ombudsman. This will be aimed at ensuring disputes between private renters and landlords are settled quickly, at a low cost, and without going to court. The ombudsman is expected to cover all properties let by private landlords and to make sure that when residents make a complaint, landlords take action to put things right.
- Introducing a property portal to help landlords understand their obligations. The portal will also give tenants performance information to hold their landlord to account, and help councils crack down on poor practice.
'The new deal will improve rights for millions of renters'
Commenting on the bill, Housing Secretary Michael Gove said: "Too many renters are living in damp, unsafe and cold homes, powerless to put it right, and under the threat of sudden eviction. The new deal for renters announced today will help to end this injustice, improving conditions and rights for millions of renters."
This bill only covers renters in England though, as different laws are in place in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. See our 50+ tips for renters guide for info based on English and Welsh law (though much of it will apply to Scotland and Northern Ireland), and see the Scottish Government and NIdirect sites for further details.