Category: Lettings, News

Date posted: July 12, 2023

Author: Haslams

Renters Reform Bill 2023: An update and our view on it Thumbnail

Renters Reform Bill 2023: An update and our view on it

The Government introduced the Renters Reform Bill to Parliament on the 17th May 2023, aiming to improve the Private Rental Sector and security of tenure for tenants. We would like to share our initial views on the bill, to ensure our landlords understand what the reforms are, and how they may be affected. Our only caveat is that the detail for some of these issues (eg exactly how the new grounds for possession operate) has not been published yet.

Tenancy and tenure changes

  • Fixed-term tenancies potentially ending and being replaced by periodic tenancies that don’t have an end date. Tenants will be able to leave the tenancy by giving two months’ notice
  • Rent increases limited to one increase per year, a form must completed and served to the tenant with two months’ notice
  • Under the new legislation, section 21 ‘no fault evictions’ will be abolished for new tenancies. Existing tenancies will move to the new system after the second implementation date, which will take place at least 12 months later.
  • Only be able to evict tenants under certain circumstances under section 8 grounds, eg sale of property; moving back in; persistent rent arrears defined as having at least two months’ rent arrears three times within the previous three years, regardless of the arrears balance at the hearing
  • Tenants have no minimum tenancy duration – theoretically they can give 2 months’ notice on day one

Our initial view:

  • The headline from us is do not panic. We do not think this change will have a major effect on the letting market in Reading and Berkshire.
  • More than anything this is a psychological change: whereas now we negotiate with a tenant for how long they will stay and what rent they will pay, and then we negotiate each renewal, with this new legislation they have the right to stay for as long as they want. And the landlord can only gain possession back of the property if they want to sell it or move back in or have a family member move back in, or if there’s a serious problem with rent arrears.
  • There are several key points we would like to make:
  • First, at Haslams we currently issue very few section 21 “eviction” notices for either rent arrears or for treating the property badly. In the vast majority of tenancies, the tenant pays the rent and treats the property well. And if that is happening, why would a landlord end the tenancy?
  • Second, we only increase the rent once a year now and we will still be able to do so.
  • Third, with this new legislation we lose control of when the property becomes available for re-letting. This is not good for rental markets where there is real seasonality. For example, in Oxford, the demand for family houses in winter is under 50%. of the demand for family houses in spring summer. However, in Reading and other markets we work in across Berkshire the seasonality effect is much less pronounced. So we do not think there will be a problem with tenancies ending in October, November, February.
  • Fourth, clearly this requires a fully functioning court system and repossession process. This is where some anxiety lies in the industry.
  • Lastly, it is very odd that there is no minimum tenure period, eg 6 months, as the tenant campaign groups are not against it. It would be annoying for landlords to lose a tenant after 2 or 3 months. We hope this is amended as the bill is scrutinised.



  • This independent body will oversee dispute resolutions, providing a fair and impartial platform for tenants and landlords alike. Membership will be mandatory.

Our initial view:

  • We support this policy although we work hard to resolve issues to stop them reaching the existing Property Ombudsman. You could argue any measure to further bolster dispute resolution is a good step towards further professionalism.
  • This policy will not affect Haslams clients; it will affect those landlords who do not use an agent and who therefore are not part of a redress scheme.


New portal

  • You’ll be legally required to register yourself and your properties on a new property portal, created to help facilitate communications with tenants.

Our initial view:

  • We do not see any downside with this policy. We envisage that we will do this on behalf of our managed clients.



  • You must consider requests for permission to keep pets. Landlords will be able to require pet insurance to cover any damage to their property.

Our initial view:

  • 80% of the Haslams portfolio are apartments. Many of us are animal lovers but apartments rarely suit pets. If the head lease prevents pets then pets will not be acceptable. If the head lease allows pets then the legislation means they cannot be refused. We will ensure the tenant has the right insurance.
  • It would help get the ball rolling if you could send us a copy of your head lease (where there is one).


Student lets

  • If all tenancies are periodic then students can stay beyond 12 months and it will be impossible to guarantee incoming tenants possession for the new academic year.

Our initial view:

  • As it stands Haslams does not let HMO’s and the student tenants we manage in 1- and 2-bedroom homes are treated like any normal tenant.
  • If you let student HMO’s through other agents then we read in the media today that the Government may amend this loophole. We hope so.


The following policies are in last year’s White Paper but not this bill. The Government is committed to creating legislation for the following:

  • Applying the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector
    Our view: we support this and the majority of our portfolio complies. It seems fair to set minimum standards for property condition. Across the UK 23% of private rental homes fail the Standard. Ideally, the Government would provide incentives or tax breaks to help landlords invest in their properties.
  • Making it illegal for landlords and agents to have blanket bans on renting to tenants in receipt of benefits or with children
    Our view: we support this. However, we will follow existing guidelines re numbers of children per bedroom and many mortgages prohibit letting to those without employment.
  • Strengthening local councils’ enforcement powers and introduce a new requirement for councils to report on enforcement activity
    Our view: this would be wonderful. The rental sector has very little enforcement currently.


Next steps

The document will be sent for the Second Reading scheduled for week beginning 5th June. This Second Reading takes at least several hours and possibly more than one day, given the complexity of the Renters Reform Bill.

After the Second Reading there is the Committee Stage, when a panel of around 20 MPs – usually chaired by an MP with experience in the subject – has the power to examine the Bill clause-by-clause, including consideration of relevant amendments from MPs.

Then the Bill proceeds to the Report Stage, taken in the whole House of Commons and not in committee form: at this stage only amendments are discussed. Finally, the Third Reading is another general discussion on the broad terms of the amended Bill: no additional amendments are permitted.

The same multi-stage process then goes on in the House of Lords – with minor variations – and once the Bill has been through the Third Reading in both houses, it goes to receive Royal Assent and becomes an Act.

If you would to like to get some further advice on the effects of the reform, please do not hesitate to speak with one of our knowledgeable agents using the number below.

Sources: Propertymark; the NRLA; Paragon Bank,, Letting Agent Today,