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Will the new renters law affect you?

The publication of the Renters Reform Bill, abolishing Section 21, represents a huge step forward for renters forced to live under the threat of ‘no-fault’ eviction for the last 35 years.

Section 21 is a leading cause of homelessness, with recent data from Shelter revealing that tenants who report disrepair are twice as likely to be evicted in retaliation.

London Renters Union, have broadly welcomed the news, but say there is still more to do and they are currently calling for a rent freeze. They are concerned that landlords could circumnavigate the new eviction ban by using large rent hikes to force unwanted tenants out.

An explanation of the Bill on the Government website says:

“Nothing in the Bill restricts landlords from raising rents to market value during a tenancy. Tenants who receive a rent increase that they feel is not representative of the market value will be able to challenge the increase in the First-tier Tribunal.”

Over the last year, newly listed rents have risen above inflation across the country, with 4 in 5 Londoners struggling to afford housing costs.

London Renters Union is also calling for stronger deterrents such as compensation to protect renters from the fraudulent use of the new grounds for evictions, such as when landlords wish to sell the property or move a family member in.

Siobhan Donnachie, spokesperson for the London Renters Union, said:

“Bringing an end to the blight of ‘no-fault’ evictions is long overdue. Too many families have been forced into homelessness. But there is nothing in this Bill banning the huge and unfair rent increases our members are facing all of the time. For the many families struggling with housing costs at the moment, a 20% rent hike is simply a ‘no-fault’ eviction under a different name. If the government is serious about bringing renters security in our homes, it must recognise how insecure renters feel, speaking out against unsafe housing or planning for the future, with the threat of inflation-busting rent increases hanging over our heads.”

Photo by Bethany Opler on Unsplash