22 May 2023

Renters' Reform Bill may introduce new risks for tenants – Anna Mullins comments

Property Litigation Partner, Anna Mullins, has been quoted in Property Week and Property Reporter on the long-awaited Renters’ Reform Bill entering Parliament, and the new risks it may pose for both landlords and tenants.

Experts have warned that the Bill, published on 17 May 2023, could make it more difficult for low-income renters to secure tenancies since private landlords could be newly motivated to sell their properties.

Mullins commented: “The removal of section 21 no-fault evictions will provide greater security for tenants in the private rented sector. However, it may also drive landlords out of the market and exacerbate the housing crisis, ultimately driving rents up and making it harder for tenants to find affordable rental properties.

“Even if new grounds for possession are introduced or the current grounds are strengthened as proposed, there is bound to be litigation around the circumstances in which problematic tenants can be evicted.

"For example, the proposed wording for the expanded antisocial behaviour ground will extend to “any behaviour ‘capable’ of causing nuisance or annoyance.”

This is clearly open to interpretation and such uncertainty could be detrimental for both landlords and tenants. Similarly, what will constitute an “unreasonable” refusal for a tenant to keep a pet?

"These will be issues left for the courts to decide. For landlords, the procedure for obtaining possession is already time-consuming and costly, with many County Courts understaffed and ill-equipped to deal with the volume of straightforward possession claims.”

These comments were originally published on 17 May and can be read here (behind the Property Week paywall) and here in full in Property Reporter.

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