In England, significant changes in landlord law are encapsulated in the Renters (Reform) Bill which aims to enhance tenant security and reform possession grounds. Key measures include abolishing ‘no fault’ evictions, introducing comprehensive grounds for possession, preventing backdoor evictions, and establishing a Private Rented Sector Ombudsman. The Bill also proposes a property portal for landlords to understand and demonstrate compliance with legal obligations and stronger tenant rights, such as the right to request pets in the property. See more: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guide-to-the-renters-reform-bill
In Wales, the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 introduces occupation contracts to replace traditional tenancy agreements, categorizes contract terms, and requires landlords to provide a written statement of the contract. Repairs and property fitness for human habitation are emphasized, with specific provisions to prevent retaliatory evictions. Notice periods for contract termination have also been revised, alongside enhanced succession rights and provisions for dealing with property abandonment. See more: https://www.gov.wales/landlords-housing-law-has-changed-renting-homes
it’s important to note that these changes to landlord-tenant law in England and Wales have been designed to provide a balance between protecting the rights of tenants and ensuring landlords can manage their properties effectively. The reforms aim to create a fairer rental market by preventing arbitrary evictions, ensuring decent living conditions, and providing clear, streamlined processes for both landlords and tenants to follow. Landlords are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these changes to ensure compliance and to maintain good relationships with their tenants.
The King’s Speech
The King’s Speech in 2023 outlined critical areas of focus for landlords:
- Renters Reform Bill: The Bill is advancing to the committee stage and was a focal point in the speech, highlighting the government’s intention to offer renters stronger security and better value, while assuring landlords they can reclaim properties when necessary. The end of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions will align with improvements in the court system, which is a change from the initial timeline set post-Royal Assent of the Bill.
- Net Zero Commitment: Landlords were reminded of the government’s Net Zero emissions target by 2025. The emphasis was on energy independence and renewable energy investment. Notably, the prior requirement for landlords to reach an EPC rating of ‘C’ by 2025 for new tenancies and by 2028 for all tenancies has been scrapped, easing the pressure on property upgrades for energy efficiency.
- Leasehold and Freehold Bill: This new bill intends to streamline the process for leaseholders to purchase their freehold or extend their lease and addresses excessive service charges. It seeks to empower leaseholders, enhance their rights, and reform the leasehold market. This builds on the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rents) Act 2022, which abolished ground rents for new long residential leases in England and Wales.
These points from the King’s Speech indicate a legislative trend towards balancing tenant protections with landlord rights, increasing energy independence without imposing strict upgrades on properties, and reforming leasehold practices to benefit leaseholders.
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