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The Renters Reform Bill -Will it become Law?

View profile for Daniel Crook
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Government Intentions

There has been much recent speculation in the press and amongst opposing politicians as to whether the intended Renters Reform Act will receive Royal ascent, without having been watered down by a raft of potential changes.

To recap, the Bill was intended, to readdress the power balance between Landlords and Tenants. The pendulum seems to swing back and forth between the parties, with the assertion that the prevailing Housing Act 1988 favoured the Landlord’s position too much.

When Housing Secretary Michael Gove’s Department published the bill in May 2023 it contained wording to abolish Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions. The idea behind it was to give people more security in their homes, encourage decent home standards, whilst giving tenants the right to have a pet and a dedicated Renting Ombudsman to deal with complaints.

Parliament has struggled to strike the right balance between providing the suggested level of security for tenants, whilst also being fair to Landlords. Landlords have fears that by banning fixed-term rental tenancies and replacing them with periodic tenancies that have no end date, they will have genuine difficulties in re-securing their properties. The unintended consequence said by Landlords, is that the Bill, would encourage them to withdraw their properties from the rental sector – in a time where there is already a chronic shortage of rental stock – and record high rents.

Court Reform

There are now rumblings that the Government’s manifesto promise to end Section 21 no-fault evictions might be abandoned. In the alternative, it is reported that no-fault evictions may now only apply to new tenancies, until such time as the Ministry of Justice can bring its promised Court improvements into fruition. The Courts are still experiencing considerably delays in processing Court claims generally, which only adds to Landlords’ concerns that they will be unfairly prejudiced, if they seek  repossession orders against defaulting tenants.

The key areas for improvement of the court system are said to include digitising more of the court process to make it simpler and easier for landlords to use, whilst exploring the prioritisation of certain cases, including anti-social behaviour.

What next?

The Bill is set to return to Parliament after the Easter recess.

Although we consider it likely that the Bill including provision for the abolition of no-fault evictions will be enacted, there may not be sufficient parliamentary time to pass it this side of any election.  The Labour party (who it appears is extremely likely to form the next Government), have insisted they will ensure that the Bill, or similar will become law.

At that stage it is currently intended that due to transitional arrangements in the bill ‘no-fault’ evictions will still only come to fruition some 18 months after Royal Ascent - potentially therefore in 2026.

Once no-fault evictions are abolished Landlords will have to rely on an ‘’enhanced’ Section 8 process to secure possession. These include wishing to sell the property, allowing family members to move in, wishing to redevelop the property, or the landlord, being the subject of enforcement action requiring them to repossess it to address the enforcement issues.  As before should rents be outstanding or their be satisfactory evidence of Anti-Social behaviour the Landlord can also proceed under the Section 8 process.

Whether you are a Landlord who wishes to discuss the options open to you now, or upon the Bill becoming law, or a tenant unsure of how the provisions will impact on you please speak to one of our litigation solicitors at our offices in Ashford, Cranbrook or Hythe today by calling 01233 624545 or fill in our enquiry form at our website to request a call back.

The Renters Reform Bill -Will it become Law?

View profile for Daniel Crook
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