Since the White Paper was published last Thursday, our Advice Line has been bombarded with questions about the Bill And rightly so given this is the most significant change in the Private Rented Sector since the Housing Act 1988 was introduced.
We will be dealing with the detail of the Bill on June 29th, however, there are some important questions that need to be answered quite urgently. (Questions asked through our Lettings Line).
1. Will the Section 21 Notice disappear next month?
No definitely not
2. What will replace the Section 21 Notice?
A re-vamped version of the Section 8 Notice with additional Grounds
3. How quickly will the legislation be implemented?
Before the Bill becomes an Act. There is no set time limit - the Bill it will be scrutinised by peers and MPs as it makes its way through parliament. This process is known as 'Parliamentary Ping-pong' and refers to the to and fro of amendments to Bills between the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It is during these multiple stages that amendments are made before the Bill finally becomes law.
Given the complexity of the content of the Bill, this process may last 12 months or more.
4. Will a landlord need to serve notice if they wish to sell?
Yes. It is likely a new Ground will be introduced under Section 8, however, it very much depends on how the legislation is written as to what information a landlord will be required to provide. Is the 'intention' to sell or will the landlord need to prove they are 'genuinely' selling?
5. Will Accelerated Possession Proceedings still exist?
No. If the Section 21 Notice is abolished, this process will disappear as well.
6. Will the legislation only apply to new tenancies?
No. There will be a six month period of grace - a transitionary period of six months, similar to the implementation of the Tenant Fees Act 2019 and EICRs, at the end of which all existing tenancies would have to comply with the new legislation.
7. Do these changes mean that all tenants will become 'protected or sitting tenants' ?
No, there will be a mechanism which currently exists via Section 8 Notice except the grounds and notice periods will be modified.
8. Will a landlord be required to accept pets if the head lease includes a restriction?
This is up for debate. Statute overrides contract, however, there are thousands of head leases that do not permit pets, so it will be interesting to see how the ping pong process navigates this point.
9. Will the blanket bans on renting to children and to those on benefits form part of the Equality Act and result in severe penalties if there is a breach by landlords?
This is unlikely, however, there may in a change in the way in which landlords are penalised.
10. Will landlords be able to increase rent and if so how frequently?
No change here - annually and most probably via the Section 13 mechanism which already exists. However, not is likely that the notice period advising the tenant of the rent increase may be longer.
11. Should landlords sell up now?
No. This is a sisemic shift, but the property sector is great at adapting to these changes. Landlords who are switched on and understand the nature of this beast and have good support, advice and guidance around them are likely to stay in the market.
12. Who will be the Private-Renter’s Ombudsman - Property Redress or the Property Ombudsman?
Difficult to say - there may a new organisation or an amalgam of the above.
Do you have any other questions? Contact us on 01279 600 567 / firstname.lastname@example.org