Where did you hear about us?
The monthly magazine providing news analysis and professional research for the discerning private investor/landlord

Gove bringing Renters Reform Bill back to Commons in mid-April

The government has committed to returning the amended Renters Reform Bill to the House of Commons in mid-April.

MPs return from their Easter recess on 15 April and the Bill will resume its passage through Parliament within days of the recess ending.

There’s been angry reaction from activists and charities following changes made to address concerns about the anti-landlord bias of the Bill in its original form.

Ben Twomey, chief executive of Generation Rent, says: “Instead of appeasing a few landlords, the government should focus on preventing homelessness. The best ways to do this would be to give renters four months’ notice rather than two when we are evicted, while making sure we can’t be kicked out within the first two years of a tenancy if we stick to the rules.”

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “It’s cowardly that the government would rather betray renters than stand up to a minority of MPs hell-bent on browbeating them into watering down the Renters Reform Bill.”

Crisis chief executive Matt Downie says the Bill does improve prevention measures on homelessness but must do more to protect tenants and support responsible landlords. He says: “There has been positive movement on homelessness prevention measures in this bill, which would see households still being supported after eviction, which we very much welcome.

“But with the bill still not published and continued uncertainty over ending no-fault evictions, this situation continues to cause anxiety for millions of renters across the country.”

At the start of the Easter weekend the government told Conservative MPs that the amendments it would table to the Bill when it returns to the Commons would include:

- Accepting a proposal by the cross-party housing select committee that when fixed term tenancy agreements end, “tenants be unable to give two months’ notice to leave until they have been in a property for at least four months”.

- Reviewing the operation of the courts before ending section 21 for existing tenancies to ensure the justice system can cope with the increased workload.

- Ensuring all types of student housing, including one and two bed properties, are covered by the planned ground for possession to protect the annual cycle of the student housing market. This will ensure landlords can guarantee to prospective students that properties will be available to rent from the start of each academic year.

- Reviewing the need for local authority licensing schemes considering the proposed property portal, an idea contained in the Renters Reform Bill.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, says: “All the rumour, speculation, and off-the record briefings about the future of the Bill has caused a huge amount of concern and uncertainty for tenants and responsible landlords. The Government has a mandate to end section 21 repossessions. Our focus has been on ensuring that the replacement system works, and is fair, to both tenants and responsible landlords. The changes being proposed would achieve this balance. 

“Ministers now need to crack on to ensure the Bill can proceed with the scrutiny it deserves. The lack of progress and uncertainty about the future is destabilising and damaging for those living and working in the private-rented sector. It is time to bring this to an end.”  

A government spokesperson stated: “Our landmark Renters Reform Bill will deliver a fairer private rented sector for both tenants and landlords. It will abolish section 21 evictions – giving people more security in their homes and empowering them to challenge poor practices. The Bill must strike the balance between delivering security for tenants and fairness for landlords. We have listened to feedback from landlord and tenant groups, and from MPs, and will bring amendments forward at Commons Report Stage after Easter recess.”

Morgan Vine, head of policy and influencing at Independent Age, a national charity providing support for older people facing financial hardship, said: “We’re pleased that the desperately needed Renters (Reform) Bill will return to Parliament after months of delay. This Bill has the potential to deliver some of the protections older private renters desperately need. But it does not go far enough.  

“Older renters we speak to tell us that they live in a state of constant anxiety at the thought of being made homeless due to a no-fault eviction. This is no way to live and cannot continue. We must urgently see reforms which better protect financially insecure older renters, including abolishing Section 21, so that older tenants can have some peace of mind that they won’t be evicted from their home unfairly. People renting in later life do not have time to waste, they need reform now.”  

The trailed amendments to the bill are likely to be brought forward at the report stage of the parliamentary process in the coming weeks.

If you want to read more news subscribe