What the Renters' Reform Bill Means for Watford Landlords

News at Harry Charles | 25/05/2023

After a four-year wait Parliament have announced their plan for a wide-ranging overhaul of the rental sector this week.

The Renters’ Reform Bill includes changes to eviction laws, the creation of a Private Rental Ombudsman to resolve disputes and measures to speed up the existing court process.

The bill will now be evaluated by MPs and members of the House of Lords, before it finalised and published.

Harry Charles have described a brief overview of the proposals as they stand and what they mean for landlords. 

If you’d like to have a more detailed conversation about the possible implications for your rental portfolio, contact us here at Harry Charles Estate Agents and we’ll be happy to discuss it with you.


The change that has grabbed the most headlines relates to the rules on evictions. In a nutshell, Section 21 and ‘no-fault’ evictions will be axed and Section 8 strengthened.

This means landlords will have to give a reason for evicting a tenant. Under the more substantial Section 8 rules, there are 17 official grounds for possession.

These include if: 

  • The landlord wants to sell.
  • The landlord wants the property back to live in or make available to a family member.
  • The landlord wishes to redevelop the property (this must be at least six months after the start of a tenancy).
  • The tenant has breached their tenancy agreement.
  • The tenant has been in serious rent arrears.
  • The tenant’s conduct has caused a deterioration of the property.
  • The tenancy was granted due to a false statement.

Why landlords don’t need to panic

Understandably, there has been nervousness in the industry about the abolition of Section 21. However, you will still be able to repossess your property should you wish to sell up or redevelop, but you’ll have to go about it in a slightly different way. 

Also, note that the bill reduces the notice period for landlords evicting irresponsible tenants and makes it easier to evict tenants where missed rental payments are an issue.


Tenants can request to have a pet at the property and landlords cannot unreasonably refuse.

However, tenants must confirm in writing that they have pet damage insurance.

Resolution dispute

A new Private Rental Ombudsman will be introduced so that landlords and tenants can resolve disputes without having to go down the slow and expensive court route.

For evictions that do end up in the courts, the bill pledges to make more use of digital platforms to cut down delays.


Landlords can raise rents once a year and must give two months’ notice.

End to blanket bans

A landlord cannot have a blanket ban on renting to people with children or those on benefits.


The Government says it hopes the bill will become law before the next general election. And even when it does, there will be at least six months’ notice before any new regulations come into force.


While the bill does represent change, if you’re a responsible landlord who already takes your duties seriously, it could mean less of a shift than you might think.

The fundamentals of being a good landlord, such as rigorous tenant selection processes, open lines of communication to avoid disputes and maintaining the property to a high standard, still apply.

But we recommend all landlords get up to speed with the new rules and the strengthened Section 8 conditions. 

We will continue to publish details on the bill as we learn how it is shaping before it becomes law.

Remember, our team are here to help. 

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us on 01923 731313.