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Category: renters reform bill

The Government gives an update on when the Renters Reform Bill will continue its path to royal assent – can we expect the second reading by the end of the year?

The Bill was introduced in May this year, and many would have expected it to have had its second reading by this point in time.  Nonetheless, the Government has updated the public on when to expect progress.

They have confirmed that the second reading of the legislation will not take place until after the party conference season, when MPs return on the 15th of October.

Key dates

However, there is only a small window of opportunity to hold the second reading before the beginning of the new parliamentary session on the 7th of November.

According to The Telegraph, sources from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have said they are ‘confident’ the second reading will happen before the beginning of the new parliamentary session.

However, ‘industry sources’ have said Number 10 are ‘less confident’ – stating that Downing Street is worried about whether there are enough available sitting days before the 7th of November.

There have also been concerns expressed that MP backbenchers are responsible for stalling progress on the Bill.

One MP, speaking anonymously, told The Telegraph:

There’s incredible resistance from certain MPs and has been growing since the Bill had its first reading. Until such time as everyone is assuaged, it’s not going to get very far.

The concerns backbench Tory MPs may have is that by getting rid of the Section 21 eviction process (one of the cornerstone changes within the Renters Reform Bill), many landlords will then decide to exit the market – potentially worsening the existing housing crisis.

With a general election on the cards next year, there have also been concerns as to whether the Bill will go through at all.

Talking to LandlordZONE (an online landlord news site), policy director for the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), Chris Norris, said he worried more about how the Bill would be implemented, rather than if it was implemented, saying:

We could have a new Labour government or a minority government with their own priorities and they might not agree, so it could fail. However, that’s unlikely, as is the scenario of the government deciding not to schedule the next stages.

What can landlords take from the update?

The second reading of the Bill will certainly not take place before 15th of October.

Everything is pointing to the Tories stalling, because if they lose the election Labour would then have to implement the Bill and manage the outcome, or Labour could rip it up and start again.

If Tory back-benchers are unhappy with the Bill in its present form, it is interesting (if it is the case) that they would push for it to be stalled, as you might argue that if it then falls to Labour, a firmer line in regulating the industry than the proposed Bill as it stands may be taken.

Opinions on who will be in the seat come the election have favoured Labour, but, not all of the party’s wider and recent campaign proposals may sit well with voters.

Whilst some landlords have concerns regarding the impact of a Labour government on the rental sector, there have been some encouraging signals from the party.

In July this year, Labour’s shadow housing ministers criticised Jeremy Hunt’s decision to exclude landlords from his mortgage help scheme. They also said they would not support rent controls, which has been seen as a U-turn on Labour’s previous stance. Keir Starmer himself back in May was also said to be about to reject the London Mayor’s call for a rent freeze.