The Renters Reform Bill has finally completed its passage through the House of Commons with important concessions made in favour of landlords. Landlords with leasehold property may also benefit from an annual cap of £250 on ground rents.

Concessions: what’s next?

The Renters Reform Bill has taken nearly a year to clear its first hurdle. Next, it must now proceed through the House of Lords. There is a good chance it will become law, although any subsequent changes are likely to benefit tenants rather than landlords if Labour wins the next election.

The main concessions from the original Bill are:

  • The abolition of Section 21 notices will be delayed for existing tenancies (those which commenced before the Bill comes into force) until the county court system for possession orders is deemed to be functioning properly. Such reforms might take years to complete. A section 21 notice can currently be used by landlords to take possession of a property without providing a reason.
  • Despite fixed term tenancies being abolished, a tenant will now not be able to end a tenancy during the first six months. This is effectively the same as the existing system.
  • The introduction of a tenant’s right to keep a pet will also be linked to improvements in the county court system. In future, a landlord will have to accept a request to keep a pet unless there is a reasonable reason for not doing so. Landlords will, however, be able to require pet insurance.

Leasehold property

While plans to abolish leasehold properties have been scaled back, it looks like a compromise will see ground rents capped at £250 annually for the next 20 years. However, this decision has not yet been formally announced. This will be good news for any landlords who own leasehold flats or apartments which have an escalating ground rent.