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Landlord Legal Issues - April 2023

Landlord & tenant lawyer Tessa Shepperson of www.landlordlaw.co.uk answers your questions

Q. I am getting very worried about the Renters Reform Bill. Can you tell me what is going to happen and how I can prepare for this?

A. At the time of writing this, the Renters Reform Bill has not yet been published. We had a White Paper last June but since then there has been extensive lobbying by interested organisations (such as the National Residential Landlords Association), and so the final bill will undoubtedly be somewhat different. At the time of writing, only the civil servants drafting it know what it contains. Although there is a useful Research Briefing paper available online from the House of Commons Library at https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8658/

However, the published bill will not be the full answer. Bills are often amended during their passage through Parliament, particularly during the committee stage. It is not unknown for major changes to be brought in at the very end of the process as happened with the Housing Act 2004 where the tenancy deposit scheme sections were a late addition.

Then, we will likely have a General Election sometime in the next 18 months. If this takes place before the Renters Reform Bill becomes law, and if we have a new Labour government as is predicated, it is highly likely that the bill will be scrapped, as the new incoming government will have their own plans.

So, it is impossible to say what the changes will be with any certainty. Although all parties have committed to ending the no-fault section 21 procedure so that is highly likely to happen. The best you can do to prepare for change is to recover possession as soon as you can if you wish to sell up.

I would also recommend that you be very careful in your choice of tenants going forward if you are looking to remain a private-sector landlord. But this is something landlords should do anyway.

Q. I have been told that there is a new ‘How to Rent’ Guide. Do I need to give this to all my tenants now? If not, when should I give it to them? 

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