The government outlined its long-term vision for the private rental sector (PRS) in a white paper titled "A Fairer Private Rented Sector" that was published in June of last year. As a result, the long-awaited and widely discussed "Renters Reform Bill" was introduced to Parliament last May and is due to have it's 2nd reading in the House of Commons on Monday 23rd October.

The RRB was established in response to concerns regarding tenure security and accommodation quality in the PRS.

  1. The first concern is that section 21 of the Housing Act of 1988, which allows landlords to promptly evict tenants without providing a reason, leaves tenants vulnerable to "no-fault" eviction and therefore hesitant to lodge complaints with their landlord.
  2. The second concern is the condition of privately rented housing, which is more likely to be substandard and contain imminent health and safety hazards than other types of housing.

To provide tenants with greater security of tenure, the Renters Reform Bill will repeal Section 21 and replace fixed-term tenancies with periodic tenancies. The repeal of Section 21 will require landlords to rely on Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1988, which mandates a court hearing, and Schedule 2's eviction grounds.

The RRB intends to modify the Section 8 regime to make up for the elimination of Section 21. In particular, it intends to:

  • Introduce new grounds for possession for landlords who wish to sell their property or move themselves, or close relatives, into it, despite the fact that these grounds cannot be used during the first six months of a tenancy and landlords are prohibited from marketing or reletting properties for three months following the use of either ground.
  • Introduce a mandatory ground where a tenant has been in rent arrears for at least two months three times in the previous three years, regardless of the tenant's arrears at the time of the hearing; and
  • Facilitate landlords' use of existing eviction grounds to evict tenants who engage in antisocial behaviour.

We believe that the most significant issue will be the courts' ability to expedite possession claims, particularly in cases involving rent arrears and antisocial behaviour, and we welcome the government's proposals to significantly increase the courts' capacity to process possession claims quickly and efficiently in a manner fair to both landlords and tenants; and to ensure that the courts prioritise and fast-track all possession claims involving rent arrears and antisocial behaviour.

In addition to the preceding principles, the RRB proposes the following:

  • to introduce a decent homes standard (DHS) for the private rented sector (the current standard is only legally mandated for social housing);
  • to collaborate with local governments to identify impediments to the effective enforcement of housing standards;
  • to introduce an ombudsman for all PRS landlords (currently, only letting agents are required to participate in an ombudsman scheme); and
  • to introduce a new property portal on which landlords will be required to enter information about every property they rent (the government claims this will give local authorities the information they need to enforce housing standards more strictly).

The Decent Homes Standard will not aid in the improvement of the PRS unless it is vigorously enforced by local governments. Currently, housing enforcement levels vary considerably among local authorities, with many opting for informal engagement with landlords rather than enforcement action. The future will reveal how Reading Borough Council will address these issues.

As with previous legislative reforms, there will likely be a "conversion" period before normal operations resume, and we anticipate that the new amendments will not be retroactive and will therefore not apply to existing tenancy agreements.
If you have any questions you would like to discuss, please get in touch on

t. 0118 334 7410 or email: firstcontact@whiteknights.co.uk

You can check the Government Guideline for the Renters Reform Bill HERE