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Private Landlords To Be Banned From 'Arbitrary' Rent Reviews

The government is set to overhaul the private rental sector in England.

Private landlords will be banned from including rent review clauses in tenancies and Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions are to be abolished in England, the government has announced.

A white paper, titled the Fairer Private Rented Sector, has been published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. It outlines what is dubbed the biggest overhaul of the private rental sector in three decades. 

The plans to end what the government deems "arbitrary" rent review clauses would mean that tenants could challenge what they may see as unfair or unjustified rent rises. Tenants will also be able to be repaid rent from homes that do not meet a decent homes standard.

"For the first time, [we are] ending the use of arbitrary rent review clauses, restricting tribunals from hiking up rent and enabling tenants to be repaid rent for non-decent homes," the DLUHC said in a statement. "This will make sure tenants can take their landlord to court to seek repayment of rent if their homes are of unacceptable standard."

A Section 21 'no-fault' eviction is where a tenant is evicted by a landlord even though they have paid their rent on time and followed the rules. Section 21 rules can at present be used to evict tenants after their fixed-term tenancy ends with two months' notice.

The new plans would scrap this part of the law and give tenants stronger protections from eviction. For landlords, it may mean that tenants are harder to evict than previously and would effectively ban landlords from moving tenants onto other properties and re-let the property at a higher rent to new people. 

According to the government, a total of 4.4 million people privately rent in the UK with current rents rising at the fastest pace in half a decade.

Other proposals in the white paper include establishing an independent ombudsman for the private rental sector similar to the one that exists for social landlords, which would have the power to fine rogue landlords.

The aim of the ombudsman is to avoid both landlords and tenants heading to the courts with costly litigation. 

The DLUHC also noted that at present the private rental sector offers “the most expensive, least secure, and lowest quality housing to millions of renters”, including 1.3 million households with children and 382,000 households over 65.