Renters Reform Bill – Update

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  • Renters Reform Bill – Update

The call for evidence on the renter’s reform bill has now been published. The report was informed by the opinions of a wide range of industry representatives.

The report shares recommendations from cross-party levelling up, housing and communities committees. These are now suggestions that will be taken forward within the white paper.

The whole idea of the renters reform bill was to deal with the section 21 no fault evictions. In order to evict a tenant landlords and agents have legal requirements as well as local authorities. There are various different notices from a months notice with private landlords together with section 21 no fault notices and section 21 no fault evictions.

Addressing affordability issues.

There is a huge amount of concern now in the industry about people not being able to afford their rent. There has been a 25% drop in supply volumes in the past 3 years and figures indicate this may be an increasing issue in the sector.

The huge amount of increased legalisation has caused landlords’ costs to rise as more rules come into play. Including upgrades to properties. The renter’s reform bill and proposed new energy performance certificate requirements may see landlords’ profits squeezed even further. Ultimately forcing them to sell up and those remaining to increase their rental figures.

People must recognise the affordability issues in the private rented sector. The committee recommends a review of the current tax resume for landlords in the buy-to-let sector. The goal is to be making investing in this sector more financially attractive to more landlords.

Some of the suggestions are:

  1. Further clarifying the role of the property redress scheme in understanding the value of Government places and smaller portfolios.
  2. Realigning housing benefits with the 30th percentile in each broad rental market area to ensure it covers the tenant’s housing costs.
  3. Implementing the tourism accommodation registration scheme in England as soon as possible.

Giving landlords more security has also been discussed.

The report recognised the introduction of periodic tenancies should strike a balance between the security of tenure for tenants and an agreement of security for landlords. The recommendations are at a requirement for tenants to wait at least four months before they can give two months’ notice. This will give the landlord a legal six months rent from the outskirt of the tenancy.

Fixed-term tenancies for students.

The report proposes that fixed-term tenancies should stay in place across the whole of the housing sector for students.

Landlords will therefore be required to sign the existing codes of conduct. The report advises that there is an alternative to creating one single national code. Financial penalties may also be introduced for landlords who try to use this exception to rent to non-students.

Court processes and section 21.

The report highlights the necessity of working with landlords on adapting the court process before abolishing section 21. This is to ensure that landlords have the confidence in the system.

It suggests creating a specialist housing court to unblock the process. This would then have better prioritisation and fast-tracking claims of rent arrears and anti-social behaviour.

There are proposals for more changes to the section 8.

The report recommends strengthening further section 8 grounds for sales or occupation. It proposes;

  1. Increasing the notice period that landlords have to give when gaining possession of the sale or occupied property to 4 months.
  2. Extending the amount of time that must pass in the tenancy before grounds can be applied, from 6 months to 1 year.
  3. Increasing the notice period from 2 months to 4 months.
  4. Not allowing landlords to remarket or relet the property within 6 months of the grounds being exercised.
  5. Encouraging landlords to sell the property to the sitting tenants.

The report also advises that ground 14, which addresses anti-social behaviour, should become mandatory. This includes more guidance to define anti-social behaviour and under certain circumstances possession to be granted.

The section 21 no fault evictions as well as the processes upstairs are designed in order to evict a tenant. Landlords and agents have legal requirements giving various different months notices as well as private landlords. They have to adhere to local authority and local trading standards even if they serve section 21 no fault for an eviction. Sometimes, if landlords don’t carry out works in relation to properties then they can have rent repayment orders put into place.

A realistic decent home standard.

This currently only applies to the social housing sector to ensure homes are of a decent standard. There is a call to introduce legally binding decent homes standards to the PRS.

The report states that the Government plans to “provide a suitable timetable for implantation” giving landlords time to make relevant upgrades. They will also consider a gap in associated costs to meet the state of repair and reasonable modern facilities and services. Together with a reasonable degree of thermal comfort.

This will all increase landlords’ costs.

The scope of the ombudsman.

An ombudsman currently exists for letting agents mediate complaints that tenants may have. However, no ombudsman exists to mediate directly between landlords and tenants in the PRS.

The housing ombudsman for social housing associates recently suggested that the new ombudsman should cover both social and private rented sectors, with the same level of potential compensation to tenants.

The report proposes replacing current letting agents’ schemes with a “single ombudsman covering all letting agents and landlords” to avoid confusion and to streamline the dispute process.

Decent home standards will be extended to apply to both sectors, monitoring and addressing complaints throughout the industry through a single ombudsman that can also deal with enforcement.

The property portal.

The bill proposes a new property portal that aims for all property documents to be hosted on the online space. This initiative seeks to create more visibility for industry stakeholders. However, how the portal will work at this moment in time is unclear. It is believed that unique property reference numbers will likely be deployed. These numbers would then be used to match relevant documents such as deposit and electrical certificates, ultimately to monitor compliance.

Furthermore, the report states that other items should be included in the portal. These include gas and electrical safety certificates and reports, along with other reports generated by tradespeople such as any performance data. Details of the ombudsman and deposit protection scheme membership would also be included.

The report underscores the need to digitise all the information. To enforce accuracy, financial penalties for false or misleading information would also be introduced.

Tenants rights.

The report suggests that the Government should abandon its plan to legislate that landlords can’t unreasonably withhold consent. However, they want to define the word unreasonably. The report calls for the Government to explain how it will stop landlords from banning tenants on benefits.

The Government are trying to streamline as many issues as possible without realising what the consequences could be. The Government are very keen to push this bill through as quickly as possible but again the detail is so small and confusing it hasn’t yet got a defined direction in which it is going. We will give further updates.

Update – 08.05.2024

There has been a lot of discussion regarding the no fault evictions and it looks as though these have now been removed from the renters reform bill for the time being. This means that section 21 no fault evictions in order to evict a tenant by landlords and agents has not been included. It is obviously a legal require to serve a section 21 no fault eviction notice that you have to then apply to the court and this is where the problems start. The local authority together with trading standards have put a lot of emphasis on private landlords to give the correct months notice on their properties.

There will be further changes if the Government changes such as labour getting in. Best to look for the updates regarding the section 21 no fault evictions here.

Mark Harrington proprietor of Harrington Lettings

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google-review Review
Cat Westmacott
Cat Westmacott
17:57 10 Jun 24
Generally helpful for Lettings. As with any company, sometimes need a push for a response, but often easier to speak on the phone than email. Feeling hopeful for the next year’s contract with Harringtons🤞.
Kirsty Turner
Kirsty Turner
20:50 04 Jun 24
Great experience. Everyone is so lovely and helpful over the phone at Harringtons! The best experience we have had with a letting agent in Brighton, none of the other agents in Brighton have been bothered to keep in touch and help us find a property as much as these guys. A special shoutout to the lovely lady who showed me around the flat (Georgie I believe -sorry if I got that wrong), great at answering all my questions and been very lucky in securing the first property we viewed with her (an amazing spacious flat that has everything we need - including nice storage space for our paddleboards!) Looking forward to moving into our seaside home. Thank you!
Shadan B
Shadan B
23:31 30 May 24
Great experience, very helpful staff and friendly. I wish you all the success. Thanks for your care. 💐😊
Rachel Roberts
Rachel Roberts
21:13 30 May 24
Best experience I've had with a letting agent!
Charley Besant
Charley Besant
10:25 30 May 24
So far the process with Harringtons has been amazing. We viewed 3 properties with Georgie and each time she was so informative and kind, she gave us the time we needed in each property to look around, take videos and ask questions about everything. The whole process has been easy so far and I can now happily say we found our property thanks to Georgie and the team at Harringtons.
Ainhoa Negro
Ainhoa Negro
09:15 30 May 24
Georgie at Harringtons Lettings in Brighton has been exceptional throughout my rental process. From the very beginning, her professionalism and friendliness stood out. She provided clear and prompt communication, ensuring all my questions were answered thoroughly. Georgie made the entire experience seamless, from viewing properties to finalizing the paperwork. Her attention to detail and genuine care for my needs made me feel confident and supported. I highly recommend Georgie and Harringtons Lettings to anyone looking for a top-notch rental experience in Brighton.
PRBL1
PRBL1
09:11 30 May 24
Joel Starcross
Joel Starcross
15:22 29 May 24
Beth has been an excellent agent, great communicator and enthusiastic member of the team. Highly recommended!
Jess Pond
Jess Pond
13:16 29 May 24
Had an absolutely awful experience with this company. Told me one thing on the phone and then told me another thing on email. Very mixed messages. Left 7 students homeless by putting the house back on the market with only 24 hour notice. Will never use them again. AVOID!
Roisin Lilley
Roisin Lilley
11:42 24 May 24
I recently had some problems with my previous agent and came to Beth for help! She took over the correspondence for me and sorted everything out for me! I can’t thank her enough for her patience and help!! I’d highly recommend her to other landlords that need help!
Chris Lilley
Chris Lilley
11:26 24 May 24
I’ve been a tenant with Harringtons Lettings for a while, they are great, they always sort out any issues I have quickly and efficiently, Beth in particular is really helpful and I’ll be going to her for my next rental property when I look to move in September!
Georgina Palzeaird
Georgina Palzeaird
11:21 24 May 24
Beth Roberts was a huge help when I needed to switch to a new letting agency. She was friendly and efficient and I’ve always felt I’m in safe hands.
Eliya Halim
Eliya Halim
10:26 24 May 24
Top service
Maryana Atiya
Maryana Atiya
10:20 24 May 24
Rees Harper
Rees Harper
17:53 21 May 24
Lauryn Keller
Lauryn Keller
15:20 03 May 24
Georgie was great on our viewing - super lovely, informative and honest. Thank you!
Sammi Richmond
Sammi Richmond
09:16 24 Apr 24
Well, they just contacted me via email asking for a review for money... so here, I guess.Does 3 stars get me that tenner? Probably not. Nothing terrible to say, but never had any issues with the property really. Don't enjoy that they were willing to pay for reviews though, seems sketchy.UPDATE: As the business has finally replied to my review 6 years later, I thought I would mention that I indeed have the email still as proof. Offer of £10 for a review, and to mention Rachel Erridge in the review. Also a prize of £200 to one lucky winner. The email was sent from the Harrington's admin email address. I can email the proof to whoever requests it.
Jayden Charles-Frempong
Jayden Charles-Frempong
01:20 18 Apr 24
Every interaction I've had so far with Harrington has been positive with workers responding to calls very quickly and addressing any queries efficiently.
severin severinov
severin severinov
10:05 11 Apr 24
It is very good that they do their job professionally and take care of the customers.
kate quick
kate quick
13:15 09 Apr 24
I am very happy and extremely grateful to have found Harringtons lettings and the beautiful flat that I am now living in. Not only is the flat perfect for me, ticks all the boxes and is in a great location; the whole communication/admin process was so fast and efficient. I spoke to many of the team, but the two main contacts initially were Georgie and Beth. Great personalities, friendly and fast at replying to emails and phone calls. It was all turned around very quickly and everyone at Harringtons seems to appear to really be happy in their jobs. Great letting agent and I would recommend them to others looking for a new home.
Michael Hollamby
Michael Hollamby
12:32 09 Apr 24
Having worked with many many lettings it has been refreshing to deal with such a dynamic and energetic team. From start to finish the team have outstanding. Special mention to Beth who has been fantastic. I can thoroughly recommend using Harringtons.
Celyn James
Celyn James
17:08 27 Mar 24
Great experience, Georgie was so knowledgeable and kind with any enquiries I had. Really put me at ease while house hunting, amazing service thank you so much!!
Madison Harris
Madison Harris
14:29 27 Mar 24
Georgie was so helpful and really kind very appreciative x
Amber-Rose Cook
Amber-Rose Cook
08:58 22 Mar 24
easy to use and navigate as a first time user
Buffy Vaughn
Buffy Vaughn
18:06 21 Mar 24
Harringtons have been so helpful so far. Everyone we’ve spoken to on the phone including Georgie have been so warm and receptive and easy to communicate with. As a couple renting together for first time me & Danny couldn’t have found better people to help us out, they’re clear and concise. We discovered them through Rightmove and would highly recommend anyone to use their services to rent with.Thanks guys!Buffy & Danny
Sajan Raja
Sajan Raja
01:48 21 Mar 24
Kerryn Johnson
Kerryn Johnson
16:58 18 Mar 24
Georgie was absolutely amazing! Very helpful, easy to talk to and all in all an absolute sweetheart. Made the process of renting and finding a property less stressful. Always happy to help and lovely to chat to!Thank you again for everything!
Julia Reinstein
Julia Reinstein
11:22 18 Mar 24
5/5 - Everyone I’ve spoken to on the phone has been so friendly and patient with our move in documents. We found Harringtons through Rightmove, and have been really happy with our interactions. The team respond to queries efficiently and are happy to answer any and all questions.
Andrew Brown
Andrew Brown
07:09 15 Mar 24
A really excellent agency, who are very easy and friendly to deal with. Highly recommended.
Rob Rainbird
Rob Rainbird
18:04 13 Mar 24
Lovely staff and all round positive experience - Georgie is an absolute diamond and a credit to the team!
Tori Tor
Tori Tor
11:15 08 Mar 24
Harringtons have been really helpful and very swift with their responses. Georgie was very proffesional and really friendly when she did the viewings with me and Beth on the phone was again really helpful and gave me hope when I was explaining my eagerness to find somewhere new to live. Thanks Harringtons!
christos papanicolaou
christos papanicolaou
09:33 07 Mar 24
Staff were brilliant. Very helpful
Yasmin Bright
Yasmin Bright
20:54 01 Mar 24
I'm in a difficult situation at the moment with my landlord wanting to sell the flat that myself and my 3 children have been living in for 7 years. I came across Harringtons Viewings by applying to view some properties outside of my area.Unfortunately I haven't been able to sort anything with Harringtons, however I wanted to write this to say that they have been nothing but kind, warm and very understanding of my situation. I've been really impressed by their customer service (namely Georgie & Beth) and hope that they are able to find me something eventually!Thanks so much.Yasmin
Tegan
Tegan
17:30 22 Feb 24
Have been very accommodating and helpful when calling agents. They have been very helpful in being able to secure a house for students.
TheFlyingCrocodile
TheFlyingCrocodile
16:42 21 Feb 24
Went above and beyond to get things sorted for me
Brittany Stace
Brittany Stace
11:18 24 Jan 24
Harringtons have been incredibly helpful and supportive of us as new renters and they have been super efficient in getting all of the documents sent through and signed in such a short period of time. Thank you!
Georgie Prebble
Georgie Prebble
20:36 05 Jan 24
Jade Innes
Jade Innes
10:24 04 Jan 24
So far the service has been good. The staff are very friendly and quick to respond to any questions and requests.
Polly Smith
Polly Smith
11:17 28 Dec 23
we chose this letting agents as they chose a good bills company that is much cheaper than other agents. When viewing houses the staff were very friendly and have been very helpful in answering our questions and making the process as easy as possible.
Emma Howe
Emma Howe
16:06 14 Nov 23
I would rate Harringtons Lettings a 5/5. Very lovely on the phone and very quick and easy to communicate with via email. Any problems have been resolved in no time at all. So far so good!I found Harringtons via Rightmove.
Akwisitions Feedback
Akwisitions Feedback
16:25 30 Oct 23
Very responsive and super helpful throughout the process. Highly recommended!
Chloe Ballard
Chloe Ballard
17:28 02 Oct 23
Although I have only been renting with Harringtons for a short period of time, I have had nothing but a positive experience. From viewing to admin updates. The admin team especially are very polite and quick to respond and I have no doubt that the rest of my tenancy will run smoothly. I would recommend to anyone considering renting in brighton.
Matthew Ball
Matthew Ball
11:46 19 Sep 23
Professional communication with tenant although entirely impersonal. There was a bigger disconnect in their communication with the landlord in most cases, which seemed to be either slow or non-existent (discovered after contacting the landlord directly).Property was full of spider webs on day 1 despite apparently being professionally cleaned. Took a day off of work to clean it on move out day, leaving it cleaner than when it received but still had to pay part of the deposit for professional cleaning.It has been a while since I have rented, but I'll avoid letting agencies completely now if this is anything close to the average renting experience.
Ronan SK
Ronan SK
12:38 12 Sep 23
Great professionalism/communciation from the start up until the end of my tenancy. Definitely set the standards for what agencies should be like. Highly recommend to those within Brighton.
Daniel Sutton
Daniel Sutton
10:29 24 Aug 23
I have rented with Harringtons Lettings before and have always found the agents to be quick, efficient, friendly and helpful. I loved their service so much I have chosen to rent with Harringtons again. Faultless 😊
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