On Friday 24 May 2024, we learnt the news that after many delays during its passage through Parliament, the Renters Reform Bill will not receive Royal Assent before the general election in the “wash up process” meaning it will not become law.

The bill planned to scrap Section 21 “no fault” evictions, make it illegal for landlords and agents to refuse to rent properties to people who receive benefits or have children, create a national landlord register and introduce new grounds for eviction for landlords who genuinely want to sell their properties or move back in.

What was the response?

The reaction across the sector, from both landlord and tenant associations is mixed. There is another period of uncertainty whilst we await for the new government to be elected and we eagerly await to see what version 2.0 of the Renter Reform Bill will look like under the newly elected government.

The National Residential Landlords Association have described this as “hugely disappointing.”

Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark has said “Many agents will be relieved that the current government’s plans to meddle with fixed term tenancies and reforming eviction grounds with little realisation of the unintended consequences will no longer pass, but this is soon outweighed by a sense of uncertainty and apprehension as to what the next government will do.”

Tom Darling, Campaign Manager of the Renters’ Reform Coalition, said: “Today we get confirmation that the Renters (Reform) Bill won’t pass – meaning the Bill is dead and the task of fixing England’s broken renting system will fall to the next government. Renters have been so badly let down. The Renters (Reform) Bill had already been undermined by repeated government concessions to landlord groups – resulting in a bill that in any case wouldn’t have made much of a dent in England’s renting crisis. The next government must do much better.”

What does this mean for the future?

The effect of this latest news means that the new government would need to start again with any new legislation and this will need to pass through both the Houses of Commons and Lords before receiving Royal Assent.

However, whilst any new legislation may seem a long way off, the abolition of no fault evictions looks set to be on the agenda for both major political parties.

Deputy leader Angela Rayner for Labour, promised in a speech on Tuesday 21 May 2024 that “Labour will ban no-fault evictions, no ifs no buts”

Just hours before the general election was announced, Rishi Sunak said at PMQ that the government was “taking action” to help renters, and he was “confident that in line with our manifesto, we will deliver on that commitment” to end no-fault evictions.

Where are we at present?

For now it is business as usual with regards to the routes landlords can take to gain possession of their property. There are no changes to the process under Section 8 or Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 is still in force and therefore, landlords can still serve Section 21 notices providing they have complied with pre-requisites to allow a valid Section 21 Notice to be served.

If you are planning to serve notice on one of your tenants or would like to discuss how the impact of any changes could affect your housing stock please do feel free to get in touch.

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Danielle is part of our social housing litigation team. She engages with all stakeholders to ensure landlords and property managers achieve their goals for their housing stock.

Danielle has a reputation for finding solutions to disputes in a speedy and efficient manner. She has a particular expertise in leasehold, shared ownership and affordable housing.

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Published: 29th May 2024
Area: Real Estate & Planning

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