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The long-awaited Renters (Reform) Bill marks a “once-in-a-generation overhaul of housing laws”, according to the Government.
The biggest part of the bill was removing Section 21, this section allowed landlords to evict tenants once their contract had ended. Landlords also relied on this section to regain control of their property from problematic tenants.
The Bill also includes the application of the ‘Decent Homes Standard’ to the private rented sector for the first time. Additionally, tenants have been given the legal right to request a pet in their home, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse. Lastly, a new digital Property Portal was introduced to enable landlords to understand their obligations.
While Richard understands the Bill is addressing the issue of bad landlords, in an interview with Insurance Post, he warned that the Bill gives bad tenants more power to play the system.
Richard stressed that the abolishment of Section 21 is going to be a lot more difficult and time-consuming for Arc Legal, and its competitors, to do their job.
He said: “What we are talking about here is tenants that have been in the property and they’re not paying the rent, or they might be causing damage to the property.
The landlord might be having to pay their mortgage out of their own pocket because they don’t have rent coming in, or they might have just previously had the property refurbished and they know it’s not being looked after.”
Speaking with Insurance Age, he noted how the Bill is a key piece of legislation for the insurance market. Arc Legal offers Legal Expenses and Rent Guarantee insurance and support services for landlords and letting agents that covers legal fees, unpaid rent and debt recovery.
Richard explained that although the number of claims was unlikely to increase, the cost of claims could rise. He also discussed how Legal Expenses and Rent Guarantee insurance premiums, which increased following tenant and landlord disputes due to the impact of Covid-19, are unlikely to fall soon.
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