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Government introduces landmark reforms to deliver fairer private rented sector for tenants and landlords

landmark reforms to deliver fairer private rented

Eleven million tenants across England will benefit from safer, fairer and higher quality homes thanks to a once-in-a-generation overhaul of housing laws.

The Renters’ (Reform) Bill, introduced to Parliament today (17 May 2023), delivers the government’s 2019 manifesto commitment to abolish Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions which will empower renters to challenge poor landlords without fear of losing their home.

The new Bill also protects over 2 million landlords, making it easier for them to recover properties when they need to – so they can sell their property if they want to, move in a close family member, or when tenants wilfully do not pay rent. Notice periods will also be reduced where tenants have been irresponsible – for example breaching their tenancy agreement or causing damage to the property.

This builds on the strong progress this government has already made over the last decade to increase protections for tenants, including giving councils stronger powers to drive criminal landlords out of the market by introducing Banning Orders through the Housing and Planning Act 2016; and shielding tenants from excessive deposits and fees through the Tenant Fees Act 2019.

The reforms will strengthen powers to evict anti-social tenants, broadening the disruptive and harmful activities that can lead to eviction and making it quicker to evict a tenant acting anti-socially.

To ensure the new tenancy systems works for landlords and tenants, it will be introduced alongside a reformed courts process. For the minority of evictions that do end up in the courts, more of the process will be digitised – reducing delays.

A new Ombudsman will provide quicker and cheaper resolutions to disputes, while a new digital Property Portal will enable landlords to understand their obligations and help tenants make better decisions when signing a new tenancy agreement. This will give confidence to good landlords, while driving the criminal minority out of business.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove said:

Too many renters are living in damp, unsafe, cold homes, powerless to put things right, and with the threat of sudden eviction hanging over them.

This government is determined to tackle these injustices by offering a new deal to those living in the private rented sector; one with quality, affordability, and fairness at its heart.

Our new laws introduced to Parliament today will support the vast majority of responsible landlords who provide quality homes to their tenants, while delivering our manifesto commitment to abolish Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions.

This will ensure that everyone can live somewhere which is decent, safe and secure – a place they’re truly proud to call home.

Tenants will also be given the legal right to request a pet in their home, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse. Landlords will be able to require pet insurance to cover any damage to their property.

The government will also bring forward legislation as part of the Bill to:

  • Apply the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector for the first time, giving renters safer, higher quality homes and remove the blight of poor-quality homes in local communities. This will help deliver the government’s Levelling Up mission to halve the number of non-decent rented homes by 2030.
  • Make it illegal for landlords and agents to have blanket bans on renting to tenants in receipt of benefits or with children – ensuring no family is unjustly discriminated against when looking for a place to live.
  • Strengthen councils’ enforcement powers and introduce a new requirement for councils to report on enforcement activity – to help target criminal landlords.

The Bill is a key part of the government’s mission to level up across the country and follows the wider housing reforms in the Social Housing Regulation Bill and Building Safety Act. These address the systemic issues identified following the Grenfell Tower tragedy on improving the safety and quality of social housing and how tenants are treated by their landlords.

Martin Lewis, founder of said:

We have long needed a statutory single private rental Ombudsman – so I’m pleased to see it in the legislative plans. After all, disputes are often between two individuals – landlord and tenant – rather than between companies, so it can be very personal and difficult to sort. Crucially, it won’t be voluntary, all private landlords will be required to join the Ombudsman, and it will have legal authority to compel apologies, take remedial action and pay compensation.

Dan Wilson Craw, Acting Director, Generation Rent, said:

The Renters’ Reform Bill is a huge opportunity to improve the lives of the 11 million people who now rent from private landlords in England. Arbitrary Section 21 evictions make it impossible for tenants to put down roots and report problems about their home with confidence. Abolishing them will take away much of the stress of renting and improve communication and trust between tenants and landlords. The new Property Portal and Ombudsman have the potential to make it much harder for criminal landlords to operate.

These reforms wouldn’t be happening without the tireless campaigning of members of the Renters Reform Coalition and thousands of renters over many years. We look forward to reading the Bill and working with ministers and parliamentarians to make sure the legislation achieves what it sets out to do.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said:

We welcome the government’s pledge to ensure landlords can swiftly recover properties from anti-social tenants and those failing to pay their rent. Plans to digitise court hearings will also improve the speed at which legitimate possession cases are processed.

The NRLA will continue to work with the government to ensure the detail of the Bill is fair for responsible landlords and tenants alike.

Michael Webb, Head of Policy & Public Affairs, Battersea Cats & Dogs Home, said:

Tenants being unable to find anywhere to rent with their pet is sadly one of the most common reasons people bring their animals to Battersea. Not only will this Bill bring us one step closer to significantly reducing the number of dogs and cats we see being needlessly separated from their owners, it will also open up the many joys of pet ownership to millions of renters in the future. As this Bill now begins its journey through Parliament, we look forward to continuing to work with the Housing department, tenants and landlords to help ensure a fairer rental sector for pets and people alike.

Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns, Propertymark said:

Reforms to the private rented sector in England have been long awaited and the Bill will bring much needed clarity to letting agents, their landlords and tenants. Propertymark will support the UK government to ensure the specific details work in practice for those on the ground, whilst providing both security and fairness for both parties of the rental agreement. It is also important implementation is well planned and managed as these reforms are significant for the sector.

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Purplebricks sold to rival for £1 after senior team throw in the towel


Purplebricks, which at one stage was used by thousands of landlords to manage their properties, has announced that its assets and business are to be sold to rival Strike for £1, pending approval by its shareholders.

Any funds remaining in the firm – some £5.5 million – are to be kept back to pay off any liabilities excluded from the deal and to reimburse its shareholders. Purplebricks will continue as an estate agency but under the ownership of Strike.

This announcement marks the end of a process started in February during which Purplebricks senior team have sought to either raise more funding or find a buyer for the estate agency.

It also marks one of the UK’s biggest corporate failsures. Purplebricks at one point claimed to offer both home sellers and landlords a new model of estate agency that offered the same service as a high street firm but for considerably less money.

This proved harder to achieve and despite early success in 2015 to 2018 and a City valuation of some £1.5 billion, the company has faltered including a high-profile scandal in 2021 for failing to lodge deposits on behalf of tenants properly.


Today’s announcement reveals that CEO Helena Marston is to resign from the company as will the rest of the board except the CFO Dominique Highfield and it will exit the stock market and cancel all its shares.

“The Directors, taking into account the comprehensive exploration of sale options via the Formal Sale Process, the current trading performance of the Company, the liquidity position of the Company, the near term expiry of a key funding partner relationship and the potential challenges in securing, in the short term, the future ownership of the Group, have unanimously concluded that it is in the best interests of the Company to proceed with Proposed Sale,” the announcement says.

“Accordingly, the Directors intend to unanimously recommend Shareholders to vote in favour of the Resolutions to be proposed at the General Meeting as they have irrevocably undertaken to do in respect of their own beneficial holdings and the shareholdings in which they are interested amounting, in aggregate, to 19,402,865 Ordinary Shares, representing approximately 6.3% of the Company’s issued share capital.”

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Renters Reform Bill – just a delay or a major rethink?

The government has back-tracked on its decision to publish the long-awaited Renters Reform Bill this week.The Mirror newspaper reports that “procedural issues” have been blamed for the delay in introducing the Bill to Parliament.The Bill was first pledged by the Conservative administration back in 2019 and only last week Housing Secretary Michael Gove told Sky News that it would, at last, see the light of day this week, just days after the Coronation.

But the Mirror this morning reports: “The government had vowed to finally publish the Renters Reform Bill this week, more than four years after the Tories first promised to scrap no fault evictions. But the long-awaited overhaul has been postponed due to ‘procedural issues’.”Over the Bank Holiday weekend speculation was mounting that Tory backbenchers were unhappy with the pro-tenant, anti-landlord sentiment contained in the proposed legislation.Another newspaper – the online i – used unnamed sources and reported: “A group of Conservative backbenchers – some of whom are landlords and, according to Westminster sources, reportedly include the former chairman of national estate agency chain Hunters, Kevin Hollinrake – are unhappy about the pro-renter legislation and have been lobbying against it.”

Today’s Mirror – a Labour-supporting publication – also carries a pledge from shadow housing secretary Lisa Nandy to introduce more far reaching reforms of the private rental sector.

Nandy tells the paper: “Our message to the government is clear. So not backtrack on the promises you have made, do not drop any commitments, do not roll over to your backbenchers again.”

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities spokesman says: “We are absolutely committed to delivering a fairer deal for renters.

“We will bring forward legislation very shortly, which will include a ban on ‘no fault’ evictions, so that all tenants have greater security in their homes and are empowered to challenge poor conditions.

“We are also introducing a Decent Homes Standard for the Private Rented Sector for the first time ever which will make sure privately rented homes are safe and decent.”

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Leasehold reform ‘will not be in King’s speech’ says former housing minister

greenhalgh airbn tax

Former housing minister Lord Greenhalgh has expressed doubts that leasehold reforms will be included in the King’s Speech this autumn.

In an interview with Leasehold Knowledge, he said that despite being very complex legislation, the background work had been done.

“Even if you ran out of time and you weren’t able to get the Bill through Parliament, at least there’s something that can go through the pre-legislative scrutiny, so you get a better Bill at the end of it. I am just sceptical of getting it through both houses in time.”

However, he said the good news for leaseholders was that every major political party wanted it to happen. “It’s now become above party. Everyone is in favour of reform.”

Radical reforms

The government is preparing to bring in legislation which includes reforming the process of enfranchisement valuation used to calculate the cost of extending a lease or buying the freehold, ditching rules that prevent owners from buying the freehold to their property if a small part of the building is given over to commercial use, and allowing owners of leasehold houses to be able to extend their leaseholds by 990 years at a zero ground rent.

Speaking about rules limiting the number of landlords affected by the cladding scandal who face the full remediation bills for their block, Lord Greenhalgh admitted he would have liked to see the threshold set higher to protect smaller landlords and those with retirement properties.

“We were worrying about this when the Building Safety Act was passing through the Lords and there was a bit of ping pong around the number of properties, and we increased the number of properties from two to three,” he said.

“You always finish your time in government feeling that you’ve done as much as you can in the time that you had. And then you realize that there are areas that still remain unresolved.”

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BREAKING: Landlords ‘to be given three more years’ to reach EPC minimum

Ministers are considering a punitive scheme to fine landlords up to £30,000 if they fail to upgrade their properties to a minimum band C by an extended deadline of 2028 instead of the current 2025.


The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero had previously proposed a deadline of 2025 for newly-let rentals to achieve an energy performance rating of at least C, and a deadline of 2028 for all other rented properties.

But now all rental properties will have to reach the minimum standard by 2028, it is claimed.

This adds fuel to an already flammable debate over how landlords are expected to pay for upgrading properties, particularly in areas where the circa £10,000 to £15,000 costs of meeting the EPC minimum represents a considerable chunk of the bricks and mortar’s value and/or annual rental income – particularly outside London and the SE.

The Daily Telegraph’s report is linked to the Government’s yet-to-be published results from its consultation on the issue, which was launched in early 2021.

If true, the proposals would see some two million landlords forced to upgrade their properties even though the maximum spend cap will be set at £10,000.

This cap, which was originally £3,500, is the upper limit of expenditure that landlords will be expected to fork out to upgrade properties without being banned form renting them out – or £6,500 more upfront than before.

It is reported that discussions had been held with stakeholders on the proposals, but ‘no decision has yet been made’.


Rik SmithRik Smith (pictured), Head of Tenancy services at rent guarantee platform Goodlord, says: “I’m sure the sector will welcome the proposed extended deadline to get properties up to standard, but there’s an enormous amount to do before then.”


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First rental eviction prompted by tighter EPC rules takes place in Midlands

An 80-year-old disabled woman is being evicted from her home after more than 60 years because her property won’t pass tighter new EPC rules, a case which is believed to be the first of its kind.

Thoresby Estate which owns Anne Marsh’s property in Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire (pictured), says it is no longer viable to rent it out, leaving the pensioner two months to find somewhere else to live.

A report on BBC East Midlands Today explained that although Newark & Sherwood Council is trying to find her a new home, it’s proving difficult as Marsh needs somewhere to park her valuable mobility scooter.

62 years

“I’ve been here 62 years – why do I want to go anywhere else?” she told the programme. “I will be isolated somewhere else and that’s very difficult for an old person – that’s what kills old people off.”

A spokesman for Thoresby Estate says it deeply regrets the situation. “However, the recent law changes with regards to energy performance certificates has made it no longer viable for us to rent out houses like this. Our sympathy goes out to everyone in this and similar situations.”

The NRLA, along with many other groups, has been urging the government to announce more financial help for the PRS to make energy efficiency improvements ahead of looming new rules that could see all tenancies forced to have a C EPC by 2028.

Just the start

 mick robertsNottingham landlord Mick Roberts (pictured) believes this eviction is only just the start. “The government needs to sort this out,” he tells LandlordZONE.

“Half of my properties won’t get to a C band without spending £30,000 and that isn’t happening when tenants are paying 70% of market rent. Some have had a new boiler and double glazing and are still a D rating.”

Adds Roberts: “It should be up to tenants – I’ve asked some and they are quite happy with their houses and don’t want anything done because they don’t want to pay more rent.”

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Chadwell Heath rental home gets a whopping 52 offers

queue property

In a display of competitiveness in the rental market, one Chadwell Heath home reportedly received 52 offers last week.

The landlord for the two-bedroom house in Cornshaw Road was spoilt for choice as 162 viewings were booked for the property, flooding the street with a long queue of interested parties.

Adeel Hasnain, a prospective tenant, had travelled all the way from Harrow for the viewing. He was stunned to see the amount of people who had gathered for it like him, and posted videos of the crowd on social media.

Adam Picton, the local lettings expert for the agency Purple Bricks that arranged for the viewings, shared with this paper that the location and the characteristics of the home were the main crowd-pullers.

He said: “First of all, the price compared to most two-bedroom houses near the station was somewhat generous.

“It’s pretty hard finding a property that ticks every single box, but when it’s within your budget, has a garden, has two double bedrooms, a driveway, is close to the station, is within school catchments, a decent sized kitchen and a shed for storage…most tenants would give an arm and a leg for all that.”

The house ended up going for a price that was £150 above its original asking rate, and some tenants were reportedly offering to pay more.

Adeel told this paper about his struggle to rent a home in London. He said: “Nowadays it has been very difficult to get a suitable house at a price you can afford. I have been looking for more than a month but still haven’t made much progress.”

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Leading economics expert says ‘enough is enough’ for bruised landlords

david smith

Sunday Times’ economics editor David Smith has expressed sympathy for private landlords who he believes feel bruised by increasing regulation in the sector.

He says higher mortgage rates might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for many, with some already selling up and financial institutions moving in by building homes to rent and becoming bigger property owners, often adapting models seen in successful student accommodation.

Speaking on the Talk Property with Ian Collins podcast, Smith said the big changes began during George Osborne’s stint as Chancellor and would continue under this government with the end of no fault evictions and updated energy performance certificate standards.

“The government was under pressure from generation rent who felt they weren’t well treated,” he told Collins. “The effect such as rent controls in Scotland is now limiting supply of rental property particularly for young people and there is a great danger of unintended consequences with these interventions.

Enough is enough

“It’s been one thing after the other for landlords who feel quite bruised by it – for some of them, enough is enough.”

The economics expert predicts that we might have to get used to higher interest rates for some time, however, he is convinced the housing market is robust and predicts that in the next 12 months, prices will only drop by 5 or 10% – or even less.

“After the mini Budget when mortgage rates went up, people got scared, appetite and interest went away for a few weeks,” he added.

“There’s currently a standoff between buyers who are a bit scared of higher mortgage rates and sellers who don’t want to sell into a market they don’t see as very strong – but there are signs buyers are coming back.”

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Landlords warned over Section 13 rent rises after Court of Appeal decision

appeal court

The Court of Appeal has dismissed the case of a landlord who tried to evict a tenant in arrears after getting the date wrong on a Section 13 notice.

Tenant Victoria Whiteland had lived in her cottage in Llanbydder, Carmarthenshire, since May 1991 but although the rent was due every Monday, had always paid on the preceding Friday of each week.

However, when landlord Christopher Mooney bought the property in 2017 and served a notice proposing an increase in the weekly rent from £25 to £100, this stated that the new rent should take effect from Friday 7th December, rather than Monday 10th December 2018.

Typically, if a tenant doesn’t take the matter to a First Tier Property Tribunal, the increase takes effect automatically.

The landlord argued that as she had not done this, it was too late to challenge the validity of the notice.

He believed a reasonable tenant would understand that the landlord meant Monday and not Friday, however, the Court of Appeal disagreed. It also dismissed his argument that the correct date was a Friday because he had already pleaded that the proper date was Monday.

Renters Reform changes

david smithDavid Smith, property lawyer at JMW, explains: “It is quite likely that the Renters Reform Bill will make Section 13 notices the only way to increase rent. If so, then it will be important that agents and landlords are getting the dates on them right.”

Smith adds that the s13 process no longer exists in Wales as it was removed by the Renting Homes (Wales) Act on 1st December.

“The judgment remains valid in England though and is an odd example of the curious effects of devolution in that a case about a Welsh property has changed the law for England but not that for Wales.”


The judges ruled that a tribunal is there to determine the proper rent for a property and can also determine the validity of a notice.

His tenant did not accept the validity of this notice and maintained a previous landlord had told her that the rent would be £25 per week for as long as she lived at the property. Mooney then started possession proceedings.

Read a guide to Section 13 notices.

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BTL landlords welcome landmark ruling from the Supreme Court

Buy to Let

The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has welcomed a landmark ruling from the Supreme Court which provides vital clarification about the responsibilities of so called ‘rent-to-rent’ companies.

The ruling in the case of Rakusen v Jepsen will have important implications for the private rented sector as a whole.

In the case, the landlord, Rakusen, agreed to let a flat to a rent-to-rent company. The property required a licence, but the company did not apply for one.

As a result of the failure to be licenced, the former tenants of the flat sought a Rent Repayment Order against Rakusen rather than the rent-to-rent company – even though he had not received rent directly from the tenants.

Rent-to-rent companies take over the running of a property for a landlord.

At an initial tribunal it was ruled that the Rent Repayment Order could be applied for against Rakusen. The Court of Appeal however later overturned the decision and ruled in Rakusen’s favour.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court has ruled that where rent-to-rent companies take over the running of a property, they cannot shirk responsibility and expect to leave the landlord to pay for their legal failings.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, said: “This case has never been about whether legal obligations should be met, but about who should be responsible for them in rent-to-rent cases.

“We therefore welcome today’s ruling which accepted many of the arguments made by the NRLA and provides important clarity for landlords and tenants alike.

“The ruling makes clear that it is the responsibility of rent-to-rent companies acting as a landlord to ensure that relevant legal requirements are met, since it is they who receive tenants’ rent. It is simply not right that such companies can take money from people without any responsibility for the property they are running.”

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