21 October 2022 by

A fairer private rented sector?

On 11 October 2022, the Government confirmed it would commit to a manifesto pledge and honour the White Paper ‘A Fairer Private Rented Sector’. This means a ban on no-fault evictions for private renters and essentially scrapping Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, amongst other new measures.

No more no-fault evictions?

Assured shorthold tenancies are the most common form of tenancy in England. Section 21 allows landlords to obtain possession of their properties under assured shorthold tenancies without having to establish fault of the tenant.

As part of this proposed change, a landlord would no longer have the right to end the tenancy for no reason and it would be necessary to give reasons (i.e. rent arrears, breach of tenancy) and pursue a possession order under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988.

The Government has confirmed that landlords will have safeguards to operate in the private rented sector with confidence and that the proposal will strengthen the grounds of eviction under Section 8 and simplify the Court process, to make it easier to gain possession through the Court. In addition, the Government said it was planning to introduce new Section 8 grounds, including grounds covering landlords should they wish to sell or move into the property themselves. However, the Government has hinted that these grounds would be limited until after the tenancy has lasted for two years.

Decent Homes Standard

As part of the White Paper, the Decent Homes Standard, which already applies to social housing, will be extended to the private sector. A “decent home” meets the following criteria:

  1. It meets the current statutory minimum standard for housing (see the Housing Health and Safety Rating System)
  2. It is in a reasonable state of repair
  3. It has reasonably modern facilities and services
  4. It provides a degree of thermal comfort

The relevant local authority will be able to enforce non-compliance of the Decent Homes Standard.

Other proposals

Other measures in the White Paper include:

  1. Introducing a new single Ombudsman to whom all private landlords must be answerable. The hope is that this will offer a more streamlined forum to deal with disputes between landlords and tenants outside of Court.
  2. A new Property Portal to help landlords to understand, and comply with, their responsibilities, as well as giving councils and tenants the information they need to tackle rogue landlords.
  3. Stronger enforcement powers for local authorities (e.g. issuing fines to landlords who fail to comply).
  4. Only allowing increases to rent once per year, end the use of rent review clauses, and improve tenants’ ability to challenge excessive rent increases through the First Tier Tribunal.


The proposals will require legislation before they come into force and it was expected that Government would introduce a ‘Renters Reform Bill’, encompassing the above proposals, in 2023.

Of course, with all the current upheaval in Westminster, it is possible that many of the proposals set out in the White Paper will not make it to legislation.

Watch this space for further updates.

If you are a landlord or tenant looking for advice on your rights, please contact our Real Estate Disputes team.

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