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Category: renters reform bill

A last minute change has resulted in the Renters Reform Bill, due to be published this week, being held back by the government. This has sparked a debate as to whether amendments are being made, given the strongly pro-tenant and anti-landlord sentiment it contains.

Landlords in the UK have been following the progress of the Renters Reform Bill closely. This bill was introduced to Parliament with the aim of giving tenants more rights and protections. Most notably, it will include the withdrawal of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions.

However, for landlords, the bill was largely not good news. It has been a highly controversial topic, with landlords and tenants both having strong opinions on the matter.

The bill aims to provide more rights and protections to tenants, which many landlords see as a threat to their businesses. Landlords argue that the bill could make it harder for them to make a profit, and that it may lead to more problems with tenants.

Some of the proposed changes that landlords are particularly worried about include the removal of Section 21 of the Housing Act, which allows landlords to evict tenants without giving a reason. Another proposed change is the introduction of open-ended tenancies, which would make it harder for landlords to evict tenants, even if they have a legitimate reason for doing so.

Not all bad news

However, it is important to note that the Renters Reform Bill is not all bad news for landlords. There are some proposed changes that could actually benefit landlords.

For example, the introduction of a Housing Court, which would provide a single point of contact for landlords and tenants to resolve disputes. This could make it easier and quicker for landlords to resolve issues with tenants.

Despite the potential benefits of some of the proposed changes, many landlords remain concerned about the overall impact of the bill.

Speculation on changes to the bill

The government’s decision to delay the bill is only a temporary reprieve. But, some believe that it is a good sign, and that the government may be considering changes that will make the bill more favourable to landlords.

There have been discussions that pressure to make changes to the bill, from Conservative back-benchers (some of whom are landlords), may have led to the delay. The message from the government though is that it is due to ‘procedural issues’.

With an election on the horizon, would the Tories make changes?

Whilst the temporary delay may feel like good news for landlords, it is important to keep in mind that the Renters Reform Bill is still a highly emotive subject.

The government is trying to find a middle ground that benefits everyone, but this is no easy task. With an election on the horizon, which is already looking unfavourable for the Conservative Party, the line they tread is a precarious one.

Labour, who have made a strong showing in local elections, were adamant in their message on the subject. Shadow housing secretary, Lisa Nandy, had this to say:

“Our message to the government is clear. Do not backtrack on the promises you have made, do not drop any commitments, do not roll over to your backbenchers again.”

She went on to reiterate that if Labour were in power, they would go further to support tenants, than the Tories plan to do:

“We will tilt the balance of power with powerful new rights and protections for tenants, including longer notice periods, a ban on no-fault evictions and the right to make changes to your home,”

A message from the conservatives maintains the removal of Section 21 evictions will remain:

“We will bring forward legislation very shortly, which will include a ban on ‘no fault’ evictions, so that all tenants have greater security in their homes and are empowered to challenge poor conditions.

18-month timeframe for some changes

The National Residential Landlord Association (NRLA) has said that given the changes are likely to be extensive, it could take as long as 18 months for the bill to become law, which would sit just before the next general election.

This is because the Bill has to pass thought various readings and a committee stage before reaching Royal Assent. The NRLA said on the matter:

“Since the Renters’ Reform Bill is likely to contain a considerable number of changes to current legislation, it is unlikely – though possible – that it will reach Committee Stage before Summer Recess, with Royal Assent and implementation more likely to be in the latter part of this year or early next.

“The Government has confirmed that it will provide at least six months’ notice of the first implementation date, after which all new tenancies will be periodic and governed by the new rules. Existing tenancies will be given a further twelve months’ notice from the first implementation date to convert to the new system.

“So, even once Royal Assent is granted, it is likely to be at least eighteen months before ongoing tenancies are required to move onto the new regime.”

The coming days will tell us the revised date of the bill being published and we will be watching closely.