Legislative changes in the Private Rented Sector in 2024.

We expect to see some significant legislative changes come into effect, primarily the introduction of the Renters Reform Bill. Landlords must plan and prepare for these changes to ensure a smooth transition to the updated regulations and standards. 

The Renters Reform Bill has been a popular subject of debate amongst landlords since it was first introduced back in May 2023. The bill aims to provide tenants and landlords with a safer and more secure private rental landscape. Although we have no official date for when the bill is due to come into effect  as yet, it went through the committee stage of its journey through parliament in November 2023, so we’re probably looking at late 2024; some people are guessing around the start of October although the Secretary of State for Leveling up, Housing sand communities, Michael Gove has recently promised this will be enacted in law before the general election.

During the committee stage, one important part of the Renters Reform Bill, abolishing Section 21 evictions, was initially delayed until it is judged that sufficient progress has been made in improving the court process to make it simpler for landlords to use.  Mr Gove however confirms this is back in the bill meaning landlords will need to demonstrate a genuine reason for re taking possession of their property.  This is likely however to now include landlords wish to sell, occupy the property themselves  (or a close family member) and will still of course include the existing grounds for possession covering tenants breaches of covenant.

When the Renters Reform Bill does finally come into effect, it will initially only cover new tenancies, with pre-existing tenancies to be included 12 months later. 

Other than removing Section 21 below are the key points covered by the Renters Reform Bill: 

  • Ban on fixed-term tenancies – A fixed-term tenancy is an agreement to rent a property for a fixed period at a fixed monthly cost. These will be banned under the Renters Reform Bill. These will be replaced by rolling tenancies that can be terminated by the tenant by giving the landlord two months’ notice or by the landlord evicting the tenant under valid grounds for repossession. 
  • Crackdown on rent increases – Landlords will only be able to increase rent once per year and must give tenants two months’ notice of the increase. 
  • Private rented sector ombudsman – A new ombudsmen service providing independent, impartial advice to help resolve issues between landlords and tenants is also set to be introduced. If tenants feel their complaint hasn’t been adequately addressed, they will be able to go to the ombudsman, potentially resulting in landlords being ordered to pay compensation of up to £25,000. Landlords will be required to pay to register with the ombudsman. 
  • Decent Homes Standard – This set of standards currently dictates the living standards for social housing. The Renters Reform Bill plans to enforce the same rules for private landlords to improve the quality of living conditions across the rental sector. 

New EPC Regulations Scrapped 

In another recent development, landlords will no longer need to rush to improve the energy efficiency of their property during 2024. Landlords were previously under pressure to upgrade their properties to a minimum EPC rating of C by 2025 for new tenancies. However, Rishi Sunak scrapped the plans in a speech in September 2023 when he said, “Under current plans, some property owners would have been forced to make expensive upgrades in just two years. That’s just wrong. So those plans will be scrapped, and while we will continue to subsidise energy efficiency, we’ll never force any household to do it.” This change provides landlords greater flexibility and more time to make the changes. 

Naturally if any private landlords have any questions in relation to the upcoming changes please feel free to contact Lee Bilbrough – lee@purepropertylettings.co.uk