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Category: government and politics

The Renters Reform Bill made its return to the House of Commons as it entered the ‘Report Stage’ on Wednesday 24th April, sparking discussions about the future of the rental market and the rights of both landlords and tenants. With amendments proposed to address various concerns, the Bill aims to create a fairer and more secure environment for all parties involved.

Key amendments

One of the key amendments discussed is the implementation of a waiting period before tenants can give notice to leave a property.

Under this proposal, tenants would need to have lived in a property for at least four months before being able to give two months' notice. This change seeks to provide landlords with greater certainty, ensuring a more stable income stream and discouraging short-term tenancies.

Additionally, there is a provision to review the capacity of the courts before Section-21 ‘no fault’ evictions are abolished. This move aims to address concerns about potential backlogs in the justice system, ensuring that landlords can still regain possession of their properties efficiently, especially in cases of rent arrears or antisocial behaviour.

Another significant amendment focuses on student housing, aiming to introduce a new ground for possession to accommodate the annual cycle of student tenants. By extending protections to all types of student accommodation, including one and two-bed properties, the Bill seeks to provide stability to both landlords and students.

Another amendment, put forward by MP Paul Blomfield, attempts to restrict student let landlords from signing up tenants months prior to the start of the academic year.

Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, also has added an amendment that intends to reintroduce a minimum rating of C on Energy Performance Certificates for rental properties – a target abandoned by Rishi Sunak last year.

Comments from industry

Beverley Kennard, head of lettings operations at Knight Frank, emphasised the importance of these amendments in providing security to both landlords and tenants.

These welcome amendments to the Renters (Reform) Bill will provide more security to landlords and tenants. The abolishment of Section 21 evictions will make the system clearer for renters, as landlords will be required to give an acceptable reason for evictions, based on evidentiary grounds – for example rent arrears or moving back into the property.

We urge the government to pass the Bill promptly. Implementing these changes and striking the right balance between landlords and tenants’ needs will ultimately bring more confidence and clarity to our vitally important rental market.

However, concerns have been raised about the potential strain on the justice system and the need for adequate funding for housing legal aid and court resources. The Law Society has warned that without sufficient investment, the bill may not achieve its intended goals.

Without investment for housing legal aid and the courts, the bill will not achieve its aims and may lead to an increase in backlogs and landlords and tenants alike will be unable to enforce their legal rights.

As the Renters Reform Bill returns to the House of Commons for further debate, stakeholders are calling for swift action to provide certainty to the rental market. With careful consideration of the proposed amendments and a commitment to addressing concerns about the capacity of the justice system, the bill has the potential to bring much-needed balance and security to the rental market, benefiting both landlords and tenants alike.