As the government prepares to publish its proposals for the Renters’ Reform Bill, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) is calling for the creation of a new landlord and tenant conciliation service as part of its planned changes to the private rented sector, writes Karen Bright, Head of our Litigation team.
Twelve months’ ago, the Government announced that it is committed to abolishing Section 21, or ‘no fault’ evictions as they are sometimes known. The NRLA is calling for fundamental reforms to the rights of repossession that are fair to both tenants and landlords.
The NRLA’s proposals Striking a Balance Proposals For The Renters’ Reform Bill can be downloaded here.
Their suggestions outline comprehensive grounds upon which landlords should be able to regain possession of their properties. This includes cases of tenant rent arrears, anti-social behaviour and situations where landlords want to sell a property.
Where possession notices are challenged, the NRLA is calling for the creation of a new, publicly funded conciliation service, similar to the employment dispute body, ACAS. This would seek to resolve disagreements between landlords and tenants without the stress and costs associated with going to court.
Whilst more serious cases, such as those related to criminal activity by a tenant, would need to go straight to court, most could be considered by the conciliation service.
This would help the tenant and landlord to reach an agreement to keep the tenancy going or bring the tenancy to an end in a way that works for both parties. Both parties would be able to access the advice and support they needed to make their case.
Where landlords failed to abide by the terms of the agreement, they would be banned from being able to repossess the property on the same grounds for six months. Where renters did so, the case would be fast tracked through the courts.
Possession cases frequently take many months to be considered and ruled on by the courts. The NRLA believes its proposals would reduce the workload on them ensuring they can more quickly consider and act upon cases that do come before it.
Quoted here Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA, said: “As the Government prepares this important Bill, it needs to enjoy the full confidence of both landlords and tenants.
“Our proposals are for a fundamental reform of re-possession rights which strike the balance between the needs of both. The over-riding aim is to sustain tenancies wherever possible or bring them to an end in a collaborative way.
“We hope that Ministers will accept our proposals and act on them soon.”
In December 2019 the Government announced plans to introduce a Renters’ Reform Bill which it said would:
- Abolish the use of ‘no fault’ evictions by removing Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 and reforming the grounds for possession.
- Give landlords more rights to gain possession of their property through the courts – where there is a legitimate need for them to do so – by reforming current legislation.
- Improve the court process for landlords to make it quicker and easier for them to get their property back sooner.
- Introduce a new lifetime deposit so that tenants don’t need to save for a new deposit every time they move house.
- Continue to develop and implement measures to wider access to and expand the scope of the database of rogue landlords and property agents.
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The above is accurate as at 07 December 2020. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.
The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case by case basis.