New laws give renters new rights to challenge “ruthless landlords” who raise rents or force them to live in run-down houses.
The Renters Reform Bill will also prevent them from being locked into short-term leases and – after a three-year delay – end the no-fault evictions scandal, ministers say.
It has been hailed by Shelter, the housing charity, as a “game changer for England’s 11 million private renters” after years of government inaction.
“For the first time in a long time, tenants will be able to defend themselves against bad behavior instead of living in fear,” said Polly Neate, executive director of the organization.
Michael Gove, the Leveling Up Secretary, said the bill will:
Mr Gove said: “For too long many private tenants have been at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords who failed to repair their homes and left families living in damp, unsafe and cold buildings with the threat of unfair, no-fault eviction orders hanging over them.
“Our new Renters Agreement will help end this injustice by improving the rights and conditions for millions of renters as we rise across the country and meet people’s priorities.”
The government says it recognizes that the rapidly growing number of private tenants often has to contend with “the most expensive, unsafe and poor-quality housing”. Rents are rising faster than they have in five years.
It has pledged to halve the number of substandard rental homes in both the private and public sectors by the end of the decade.
Shelter recently revealed that one tenant suffers the misery of a no-fault eviction every seven minutes after the government repeatedly backtracked on its promise to ban the practice.
Ms Neate urged ministers not to break their promises to give tenants “safety and security in their homes” while ensuring landlords “play by the rules”.
“Gone will be the days of families being uprooted and children being forced to change schools after being hit with a no-fault Section 21 eviction for no good reason,” she said.
But Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent, was more cautious, saying she was “disappointed with the details” about the elimination of no-fault evictions.
“The government proposals still mean that a tenant can be evicted every eight months through no fault of their own,” she argued.