RRB #2: Why Renter Reforms might start in May 2025


This is the second special episode of Good Landlording on the Renters Reform Bill. Richard and Suzanne talk about how and why the renter reforms may well start to come into effect in May 2025, and what this means for landlords.

This includes the likely timetable for implementation of what will be the Renters Reform Act, and when the key provisions will start to apply to new tenancies. The new rules could come in for new tenancies as early as May 2025, assuming Royal Assent is in October 2024.

They also discuss the implications of the wide definition of new tenancies, which means that tenancies that are already in place now may be subject to the new rules next year.

These show notes summarise the main points about the discussion about when the new renter reform rules will start to come into force, and include links to useful resources.

to let and for sale bords in front of buy to lets in battersea

When will tenancies be subject to the Renters Reform Bill?

For landlords, the big question is when Chapter 1 of Part 1 will come into force. Chapter 1 of Part 1 is the section of the Bill that sets out the new rules for tenancies.

In other words, the new periodic assured tenancies which will have no fixed term periods, no s21 “no fault” eviction rights for landlords, no rent review clauses, and a new implied right for tenants to have pets.

The first big step will be for the Renters Reform Bill to receive Royal Assent, which will transform it into the Renters Reform Act. Once a Bill becomes an Act, not much happens at that point. Before it comes into force, it needs to be implemented, and this is usually done in stages.

Although it initially appeared as if the new Lord Chancellor’s assessment of the operation of the eviction process had kicked the abolition of Section 21 into touch, that is not strictly the case.

In fact, tenancies will start to switch over to the new regime on a commencement date that will be at least six months after Royal Assent. Assuming Royal Assent in October, that brings us to May 2025, if a new government keeps to the same timetable.

A Department for Levelling Up spokesperson said on 24 April: “We have always said we will give six months’ notice before ending section 21 for all new tenancies. In addition, we have committed to ensuring improvements in the courts service are rapidly implemented before extending this abolition to all existing tenancies.”

These are the stages that the DLUHC spokesperson refers to:

Stage One: For new tenancies from the Commencement Date (probably from May 2025 )

The changes for new tenancies will come into effect at least 6 months after Royal Assent.

The government will publish a start date for the implementation of the rules after Royal Assent and give 6 months’ notice. May 2025 date is prob about the earliest date. It might be later than that. This is called the Commencement Date in the Bill.

Stage Two: For existing tenancies on the Extended Application Date (after Lord Chancellor assessment – 2026?)

The Renters Reform Bill has been recently amended so that the Extended Application Date for existing tenancies will be after the Lord Chancellor publishes an assessment on the operation of the eviction process and enforcement in the county courts.

We spoke about the Lord Chancellor’s assessment at length in RRB #1: Latest changes to Renters Reform Bill.

We don’t know when the Extended Application Date will be, as it Section 126 of the latest draft of the Renters Reform Bill says it will depend on the Lord Chancellor. It may be in 2026 or 2027. It was originally intended to be 12 months after the Commencement Date, so the earliest date would have been May 2026 if the Bill had not been amended to include the Lord Chancellor’s assessment.

Of course, a Labour government may change the Extended Application Date or even abolish it within their first 100 days, but that would require a new Act of Parliament.

After this date, all existing tenancies will convert to the new periodic assured tenancies, and be subject to Chapter 1 of Part 1.

>> Useful resource: The Independent Landlord RRB Implementation Timetable

>> Useful resource: David Smith – When exactly will Section 21 be abolished?

What is a new tenancy under the Renters Reform Bill?

A tenancy is considered “new” for the purposes of the Renters Reform Bill if any of the following apply:

  • It is entered into on or after the Commencement Date (assume May 2025 – might be later)
  • It is an existing fixed term tenancy that become periodic when the fixed term expires after the Commencement Date. It won’t be possible to extend fixed term tenancies after the Commencement Date.

Leading specialist solicitor, David Smith, explains the impact of this in his excellent blog post: ”As most ASTs are for six or twelve months, that means that the vast majority of existing tenancies would switch over during the following year”.

What is an existing tenancy under the Renters Reform Bill?

For a tenancy to be considered an “existing tenancy”, the parties must have entered into the agreement before the Commencement Date (say May 2025). Periodic tenancies that the parties enter into before the Commencement Date will fall under the “existing tenancy” category.

The tenants don’t need to have moved in by the Commencement Date but they must have signed the agreement before then.

The tenancy will continue to have its status as an existing tenancy under the old rules until the fixed term expires after the Commencement Date. Once it expires, it will become periodic, and considered as a “new” tenancy.

Any existing tenancies with fixed terms that don’t expire before the Extended Application Date will become subject to the rules on that date.

Examples of when the new rules will apply

Here are some examples of when the new renter reform rules will start based on questions.

(Usual disclaimer – this is not legal advice! Do take your own advice before making decisions based on what we discuss in this podcast episode).

Fixed term tenancy signed November 2024 ending July 2026

Here is a scenario from Mandy, who is a student landlord planning to sign up a new set of students in November 2024 for the 2025-26 academic year:

  • The parties will enter into a fixed term tenancy agreement in November 2024.
  • The tenancy will be for a fixed term period from September 2025 to July 2026.

This will be considered an “existing tenancy” until the fixed term period expires in July 2026. This is because it will have been entered into before the Commencement Date, even though the students don’t move in until September 2025. When the fixed term expires in July 2026, it will become a new tenancy under the new rules on that date.

Until when will landlords be able to serve a Section 21 notice?

Jonathan has asked about how a landlord could serve a Section 21 notice in the above scenario.

The Section 21 notice would need to be served before the Extended Application Date, ie the Lord Chancellor’s assessment date.

One way of ensuring this is to serve the section 21 notice early, so long as at least four months have passed since the start of the tenancy. Section 21 (4B) of the Housing Act 1988 says a notice can’t be served until 4 months into the start of the tenancy.

A landlord might want to consider this to ensure they gain possession at the end of a fixed term tenancy, without having to serve a Section 8 notice and go through the courts.

However this kind of “hedging your bets” is not something to do lightly, as it may be distressing for the tenants.

The transition rules haven’t been published yet, so it’s important to check the final draft of the Bill before taking any action, as it may well change.

Conclusion

With the Renters Reform Bill having taken so long to get through the House of Commons, it has been easy to discount it, and hope it will go away like the requirement to have an EPC C.

This is wishful thinking as the Renters Reform Bill is now highly likely to make the statute book before the end of 2024, and start coming into force in 2025. Many landlords will have tenancies that will convert to the rules in 2025.

It’s time to start preparing for it.

>> Useful resources: The Independent Landlord Renters Reform Hub

why the Renters Reforms changes might start in May 2025

Credits

Music: “Paradise Found” by Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech. Licensed under Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 License.

2 thoughts on “RRB #2: Why Renter Reforms might start in May 2025”

  1. I would like to know the notice periods for both landlords ( where notice applies ) and tenants for terminating a tenancy under the new regime.

    Thank you.

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