Government set to shelve Renters Reform Bill until “much later” in year

The government’s Renters Reform Bill has been delayed and is not expected to be introduced until later this year, according to National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).

Ben Beadle

This Bill, which includes measures to abolish Section 21 rights for landlords and their agents, was expected to be introduced in the coming months after the now former junior housing minister Kelly Tolhurst, who quit her role last month, said the government will introduce the controversial Renters Reform Bill “very soon”.

The Bill, which first appeared in the 2019 Conservative General Election manifesto 15 months ago and later featured in the Queen’s Speech, will also see the introduction of so-called lifelong deposits which can switch from one property to another, preventing the need for tenants to raise new deposits every time they move home.

During a recent debate in the House of Commons, Tolhurst told MPs: “The government are committed to enhancing renters’ security by abolishing no-fault evictions. During the Covid-19 pandemic, our collective efforts have been focused on protecting people during the outbreak. This has included introducing longer notice periods and preventing evictions at the height of the pandemic on public health grounds. We will introduce a renters’ reform Bill very soon.”

However, the NRLA’s ’s chief executive Ben Beadle says that it is highly unlikely that the Renters Reform Bill will be introduced anytime soon.

Christopher] Pincher

Taking part in the first episode of a new NRLA podcast series called “Listen Up Landlords”, he said: “I spoke with [housing] minister [Christopher] Pincher a couple of weeks ago, there’s been lots of speculation around when this might be coming down the track. Frankly, I’ve given up trying to guess. Chris Pincher has told us that the social and economic terrain needs to be a stable one before this comes.

“I don’t know that we’re going to see social and economic stability at any time soon, so I think probably what we’ll be looking at is a bridge between what we have now to the Renters Reform Bill, which my best guess is probably much, much later in this year. But we will see.”

Reflecting on what is likely to be in the Bill, Beadle continued: “The government has been elected and made a commitment on abolishing Section 21. That’s obviously something, whether we like it or not, has widespread political support. A couple of other things that we know are going to be in there is that it won’t be retrospective, so it’ll apply to new tenancies going forwards. But, it’s a massive opportunity to tidy up some of the problematic areas that the sector has. Our hope is that it’s a bit like the 1988 Housing Act, had massive impact on the sector that I think this one is hopefully going to deal with the fundamental structure in which we operate. But fundamentally, is fair to both landlords and tenants. That’s certainly what we’re hoping for.”

The scrapping of Section 21 will lead to the introduction of a new type of tenancy, with Section 8 expected to be used to evict tenants, and that is something Beadle also talked about.

Listen Up Landlords podcast

He added: “Lots of people have spoken about Section 21 going. What not many people have spoken about is what replaces it, and obviously we’ve been very much trying to get on the front foot in relation to articulating how possession will work in this new world. Because what a lot of landlords say to us is that they don’t misuse Section 21, they don’t use Section 21 willy-nilly, they use it for a reason. We’ve set out some of those reasons.

“We think there needs to be clear and comprehensive grounds for repossession, and fundamentally that those faults around rent arrears, anti-social behaviour, landlord wishing to move back in, and a landlord wishing to sell their property are recognised within the grounds. There are, of course, a plethora of other ones. But the point is that any replacement must have clear and comprehensive grounds for repossession, because landlords and tenants both need to have confidence in what the rules of the game are.”

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21 Comments

  1. jeremy1960

    I do wish that everyone would stop using the term ” no fault eviction!”

    There is no such thing, if a landlord serves notice to tenants, there is always a reason. In over 30 years in this business I do not recall ever meeting a landlord who woke up one morning and just decided he would serve notice to his tenants for no reason at all !

     

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    1. Will2

      You can add the term Rogue landlord to that.  Emotive terms designed to manipulate public opinion.

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    2. CountryLass

      I think they are trying to show that notice is being served for ‘no-fault’ of the tenant, but that is not usually the case. I only serve an S21 for 3 reasons; The tenant is in arrears or constantly paying late and the landlord has reached their limit, the tenant is causing damage to the property or the landlord wants to sell/move family (or themselves) in.

      I suppose I could add causing massive issues with the neighbours in, but I’ve ben lucky not to have that! Well, I did, but the whole development insisted it was actually the bloke constantly complaining who was the issue, and having met and spoken to him, I agreed!

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  2. JamesB

    no panic to introduce it and they have blocked evictions anyway.  they cant stop supply drying up as landlords can still evict to sell .. this is only going one direction for tenants, the wrong way, rents going up as supply drops.

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    1. CountryLass

      Especially if they stop landlords being allowed to refuse pets… Sorry, but it’s the landlords property, if they don’t want pets, that’s their choice! I had a landlord refuse a tenant who had tarantulas. It was a managed proeprty, but she said she would never be able to go in there again in case it had laid eggs or something. I hate spiders myself so I didn’t push too hard to change her mind. We let it to someone with a lizard instead!

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    2. Will2

      Ask yourself why supply is drying up and you will understand why rents are rising.  It is basic economics. The Rent Act 1977 is a prime example how to kill a letting market stone dead.

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  3. paulgbar666

    I reckon most LL would have no problems with S21 being abolished apart from retaining it for rent arrears cases. All other reasons may use a revised S8. 95% of evictions are principally for rent arrears. There isn’t anywhere a LL may detail the reason for S21. It is also the case that S21 is just part of the formal NTQ If it isn’t used and the tenant refuses to vacate then S21 has to be issued taking even longer to get rid of a tenant   S21 has been a foundation of the PRS albeit a flawed one taking ages to get rid of tenants. I don’t believe many feckless rent defaulting tenants realise that with no S21 everyone of them will end up with a CCJ courtesy of S8. Feckless rent defaulting tenants cost LL over £9 billion of losses per year; mostly due to rent defaulting.   In future all of those tenants will be subject to a CCJ.   They might find rental properties available for them very limited!!!                

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    1. Woodentop

      You have just given support why anti-section 21 and lobbyists are convincing Government that Section 21 isn’t necessary. Section 8 and alternatives are a red herring. Section 21 is ‘final’ and why it is used more often. If someone thinks they are not going to have  a bigger fight on their hands to remove a tenant, which you only do when they demonstrate they will continue to misbehave, is deluded without the whole Housing Act reformed. ‘Discretionary possession orders’ left as is will become an even more problem.

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      1. paulgbar666

        I totally agree that S21 was and is a far more effective instrument that S8.

        But we are where we are.

        I would have settled for S21 retention for rent arrears cases only..S8 for everything else.

        S21 then becomes a fault based NTQ.

        But that ship had sailed.

        S21 is going.

        We have yet to see how S8 will be enhanced to prevent rent defaulting tenants from gaming the system like they may currently do with S8.

        All a tenant has to do with S8 is on the day of a S8 court hearing is reduce rent arrears to 1 month even a minute before the hearing.

        The DJ will throw out mandatory repossession.

        This gaming of S8 needs to be prevented.

        But I agree with you that abolishing S21 is going to make life a lot harder for LL and is one of the many reasons that I wish to leave the PRS.

         

        The idea that S21 was used with gay abandon by LL was complete and utter propaganda put out by Shelter etc.

        I only ever used it to evict rent defaulting tenants!

         

         

         

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        1. Woodentop

          Sec 8 if not reformed may become impossible where Universal Credit is providing housing benefit. Sec 8 is only mandatory if certain rules apply, otherwise is discretional as are all the other options. The likes of Shelter already know how to play the system and contest discretional grounds and it will get worse as far too many private LL haven’t a clue of what, where and when to do.

           

          Note none of the anti-LL organisations make any reference to reviewing Housing Act other than Sec 21 Notices. Is anyone surprised!

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          1. paulgbar666

            Currently S 8 provides for mandatory repossession on certain grounds. How the rent is paid is irrelevant.   2 months of arrears which is one month and 1 day and the S8 can be issued. 14 days later A PO may be submitted. The fact that UC is paid in arrears is irrelevant. The tenant is obligated to pay rent in advance mostly. That means if the 1st month’s rent hasn’t been paid by the end of the month nor the following day the tenant is in 2 months rent arrears.   It seems many UC tenants fail to understand their TA. It is for them to ensure they don’t end up in 2 months arrears. Of course we all know the issues many of which are not the fault of the tenants. This results in No DSS tenants which is a business strategy that I have always followed and will not deviate from. Though obviously such a strategy is frustrated by events after the fact when many LL including me now have occupants in receipt of furlough and UC income. Despite our intention to never deal with UC occupants events can scupper that usually very effective strategy. A pandemic can upset the strategies of many businesses!!   Fortunately I’m just about hanging on but I will be mightily relieved once I eventually escape the PRS.   My respect will be for those LL prepared to stay in the game. I won’t regret being out of the AST sector at all. To me the business dynamics make it no longer attractive for me to continue to provide the excellent service that I do. A great shame but there we are. Ridiculous Govt policies will be forcing me out of business. Which of course was always what Govt wished to do. So I take my hat off to Govt who have and are being very successful in forcing LL out of business given that is their intention. But I can’t help but think if more good LL like me leave the AST sector who will house all our former tenants!? After all good LL don’t grow on trees!!    

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            1. Woodentop

              Two months in arrears at time of serving Section 8 Notice. (your one month and a day but read on) 
               
              14 Day possession order may only be issued on no challenge from the tenant, otherwise back to court schedule and hearing. …. months away.  
               
              Tenant may reduce the outstanding debt at the court hearing (Judges hate it) and cannot mandatory give PO if balance is not two months rent in arrears.
               
              Tenant can also challenge rent withheld for repairs (even bogus ones) and court hearing required before PO is agreed. 
               
              Universal Credit …. you don’t understand the advantage of it and how you can get your arrears which is likely to prevent discretionary PO on other grounds. Lettings Agents worth their salt know what I’m talking about but something we don’t like to make public. Tenants get a shock and will try and circumvent.

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              1. paulgbar666

                Oh! I totally agree with you that the current S8 process is flawed to say the least.     Recognising this is just another reason I am desperate to escape the PRS. I just can’t see Govt enhancing the current S8 process. It would somewhat defeat the whole point of removing S21!!   Once BTL lenders appreciate possession is almost impossible within reasonable time frames they will withdraw from the sector. There is no doubt about it that Govt intends to make possession a lot harder.   I want to be all sold up before these changes occur.   Of course most LL with good tenants won’t ever need to concern themselves with the current or future dysfunctional eviction process. But leveraged LL who suffer from bad tenants will need very large contingency funds to protect against a lender repossessing.   To me after the Govt eviction ban it is clear Govt cares not a jot as to how LL service their business costs. Unfortunately I don’t have large contingency funds and even if I did I wouldn’t want to waste them on some feckless rent defaulting tenant.   For me everything about the PRS leads me to CHOOSE to leave it.   I’ll still let to lodgers with one property. Lodgers are easy to manage. No problems with recovering the property etc.   As you intimate many LL don’t know about the current extreme difficulties coming soon and are in for a very rude awakening. Not that it has done me much good but at least I am aware of all these matters.   Such knowledge does inform me that I need to get out of the PRS ASAP.   For various reasons that is going to be very difficult if nigh on impossible.   I dread still being in the PRS when all the difficulties you have alluded to are in place.   It is with much trepidation and genuine fear that I face every remaining day I have as an AST LL.    

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    2. Mythoughts

      75% of all tenants give notice to quit themselves. A large proportion of the Section 21 Notices served upon tenants are usually because the Landlord either wants to sell the property or move back in to the property.
      The compliance by tenants when being served notice is high. It is usually, those wishing to be rehoused by the Council that are correctly told, the Landlord must obtain a Court Order.
      The smallest category by far, is the serving of notice upon the tenant for non compliance or rent arrears. If it’s for rent arrears then usually serve Section 21 Notice and Section 8 Notice together.
      If a PO is granted under Section 8  on mandatory grounds 8, 10 & 11, it is not possible (although not all DJ’s are aware) to secure a monetary judgment for  the rent arrears. If the arrears are cleared before the hearing, rely upon Section 21.
      As Agents have no ‘Right of Audience” at the County Court, Landlords can either represent themselves which as Woodentop alludes “Far too many private LL haven’t a clue of what, where and when to do.” or sensibly employ a Housing Specialist Solicitor.
      I am sure, however  most  experienced Agents have found more effective ways of ending the tenancy with unwanted tenants without the need of a Court Order.
      Not convinced that the replacement of Section 21 will cause too much headache for the PRS.          

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      1. paulgbar666

        I would suggest you have your figures round the wrong way.
         
        Most S21 are issued because of rent defaulting tenants who annually cause LL over £9 billion most of them rent arrears.
        Most LL wishing to sell or move into their rental property tend to wait until the tenants vacate.
        I would on principle try very hard not to remove a good rent paying tenant because of personal changed domestic circumstances.
         
        Indeed I would tend to make a financial offer, for them to vacate.
        I have never evicted other than feckless rent defaulting tenants using S21 four times and S8 once with a Monetary order obtained at the same time.
        The DJ stated at the time that she appreciated I had very little chance of civil recovery but applied the order anyway.
        I totally agreed with her and that proved to be the case!
        Clever tenants with legal aid can be very adept at frustrating at every turn a LL totally justified possession claim.
        I wish I knew all the stuff I do now 11 years ago!
        That being the case I doubt I would even have bothered becoming a LL!!

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  4. BlondeladyD

    Iam a single mum who works part time to try and make ends meet for me and my family and it is really hard and a struggle for me ive have been in my property since 2012

    My landlord has done no repairs to the property at all even though environmental heath wrote to her with a list of repairs she is required to do that was 3/4 years ago

    She would have people come to the house to send her qoutes for the different repairs and it would end there  so i just stopped friends coming to the house .out of embarrassment

    So anyway on the 2nd of jan 2021 my landlord calls me to tell me she is serving me a section 21 and need to vacate by the end of june  because she wants to renavate the house and then rent it for double what she is charging me

    And i get it its her property but where does that leave me and my kids we are being made homeless through no thought of mine i get told my the council i haven’t a chance in hell of getting a council property i have to look for private again

    But there’s one BIG problem most landlords don’t accept housing benefit or part housing benefit For reasons i don’t understand

    So where does that leave me and my family

    Out in the cold i guess

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    1. Woodentop

      Regrettably you are a victim of the situation today. For three decades ALL successive governments have failed to invest in the Social Housing Sector in sufficient numbers to keep pace with population and needs. They took the easy option of pushing SHS into the Private Rented Sector which was predominately used by well paid full time workers, as the PRS had the availability. Government would provide housing benefit for unemployed and that is when it started to go pear shaped, started by the Blair Government giving the rent to the tenants who often (and many still do today) fail to give it to the landlord and spend in on themselves, run off leaving the landlord out of pocket and often with a mess and damages to repair. That is the core reason why many PRS landlords will not entertain unemployed tenants. Once bitten, twice shy! Continued regulatory pressure is scaring good PRS landlords out of the market, exasperating the shortage of properties, all in an attempt to get rid of rogue landlords and sub-standard properties and pressure groups/political ideology backlash making it difficult to remove rogue and often horrendous bad tenants.

       

      There are many PRS landlords and agents who will accept low income/unemployed on individual case by case, even if there is a bit of adverse history. If one is a rogue tenant, well …… !

       

      My tips:

      1. You must be proactive and search and search for the property.

      2. I strongly recommend a face to face with a letting agent as a priority or you will be a name on a telephone list.

      3. A suitable Guarantor will help immensely, but they need to know what they are getting into.

      4. Any references you can obtain with existing landlord will help as an introduction only. Should be ignored by the agents own referencing with the landlord.

      5. Evidence of regular rent payments with your existing landlord (bank statements).

      6. Photos of property faults and environmental health correspondences putting your landlord in the dock will also help.

      7. Be honest with referencing questions, the agent will find out and should review any circumstances on its merits.

      8. Don’t waste your time chasing agents and landlords who make it clear they won’t help … they won’t?

      9. Consider offering to agree that Universal Credit is paid directly to the agent or landlord. This is a BIG BIG plus and can be set-up by your agreement.

       

      There are many lettings agents and landlords that will help you but are in short supply throughout the UK and are looking for confidence that you will be a good tenant. (I have no available properties, before you ask).

       

      Your landlord cannot evict you, only a court possession order can do it. Not the best option as many a new private landlord do not trust tenants who had to be evicted. However should that be the case and you have children, your local authority are required by law to provide shelter. There are conditions, so go to the local housing department or Citizens Advice Bureau. Many councils now have dedicated “Homeless Departments” and contacts with letting agents or arrangements with private landlords.

       

      Interesting no mention that Environmental Health Department hasn’t taken up enforcement action with the landlord for failing to do remedial work. If this is the case then speak to them about your Sec 21 Notice and ‘Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018’. I have no time for rogue landlords and you may be surprised by their response.

       

       

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  5. paulgbar666

    Unfortunately for you your tenancy was in the gift of the LL. If you don’t like this arrangement go buy your own property. It must be appreciated by all tenants that their tenancies only exist for as long as the LL wishes. Tenants rely on their LL desire to achieve rent. But inevitably a LL will make business decisions which makes continuing a tenancy unviable. This is of course very unfortunate for the tenant but this risk is always there. Perhaps as a good rent paying tenant you could persuade your current LL to give you excellent references.   I had similar circumstances with some former tenants. I gave them over a year’s notice of my requirements to end the tenancy. This gave them sufficient time to source another rental property……………………………. 5 doors down!! There is no way I would take you on as a DSS tenant.   Nothing personal just we would both be victims of deficient processes in the eviction and UC protocols.
    Unfortunately for you as a tenant you are unable to dictate to a LL how the business is operated. If this ever changes you would see LL leave the PRS en-masse.   Tenants have to accept that their domestic status is only as it is at the behest of their LL.   It cannot be allowed that tenants will control the private capital of LL. One presumes that the father/s of your children would and should assist you with your further housing circumstances. But there is no doubt through no fault of your own that you find yourself in the current invidious position. You might approach your Council Housing Options team who may have financial schemes to persuade LL to take you on. However I would suggest that TA is all you will qualify for.   But before you even qualify for this you will need to refuse to vacate and await eviction. Still pay your rent though! It would not be your fault in forcing the LL to evict you. It is an imperative forced on you by the dysfunctional processes involved with your situation.     My sympathies lie with both you and the LL. You are both victims of ‘the system’ I don’t know what to suggest to you in your efforts to source replacement rental accommodation. In your position I have no idea what I would do.      
    Certainly consider registering with all social housing providers.
    But you are totally correct in your assessment of the difficulties you face.
    You are one of many.
    Don’t blame the LL blame the Govt for all their anti-LL policies.
    Try using sites like spareroom which also do full property lettings and not just lodgers for rooms.
    Worth using FB as well.
    If possible have 5 weeks deposit and rent in advance funds.
    That would make you a slightly more attractive proposition.
    But even this wouldn’t guarantee you suitable accommodation.
    Unfortunately for a wide variety of reasons DSS tenants are considered by LL as to be no longer viable business propositions.
    This is not your fault.
    Just the ways things currently are.
     
    Perhaps see if you can source a guarantor that would qualify for RGI as well.
    However a major problem of UC HB is that no potential HB award would be made without a valid AST.
    No way would I offer an AST without a confirmed HB award letter.
    Chicken and egg or sort of Catch 22!!!
    Certainly consider moving to any area where LL would take you on.
    The inevitable domestic upheaval is just TOUGH!
     
    Things change in life.
    You may find you have to move away from your desired area potentially to somewhere more affordable.
    Consider such a situation more as a substantial change to your current domestic circumstances.
     
    Moving to a new area can be beneficial.
    Look upon it as an opportunity to change your domestic living arrangements for hopefully something better.
    There are plenty of good LL that will let to DSS tenants though you will probably have to move far away to achieve this.
    Having to do this is just life I’m afraid.
     
     
     
     
         

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    1. BlondeladyD

      Thank you for yr reply to my comment 
      I know its the LL right to take there property back when ever they choose And there is always that risk when you sign the tenancy
      Their father is no longer with us so can’t help 
      I wish i did have more then time to try find some where And get the extra money that will be needed for the rent in advance  and removals ect 
      I don’t know no the law or anything like that And I’m not the type of person to try manipulate the system 
      And if i was in any position to buy my own house i would 
      As said in my first comment I am just a single mum who works part time with to children one is  12  and one 15 ive never caused any trouble for  my landlord or neighbors or anything like that 
      I only get part help with my rent and it goes straight in to there account and i pay the rest out my wages I’ve never missed as payment 
      Even though no repairs have ever been completed  i still make sure my rent is paid 
       
       

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      1. paulgbar666

        You do sound to me to be an excellent tenant which makes your situation even more unfair. But clearly your LL will be changing the business model of it to ultimately charge far more rent than you can afford.   I do feel for you and your circumstances.   You are definitely a victim of the system. Indeed it is probably fear of it that has led your LL to change business model as is her prerogative.   But you sound like a tenant who does things correctly and I certainly consider that the Council might he able to source a LL willing to take on what would seem to be an excellent tenant and not the usual council dross. I suggest you start looking in areas where you can afford the prevailing market rents.   Certainly big up the fact that you work. Even part-time shows a commitment by you to enfranchise your own domestic circumstances. That can be a big persuader for a LL.   Were I in the market for a DSS tenant you sound like can excellent prospect.   But like many LL I wouldn’t be much use to you ad I am desperate to leave the PRS for all reasons mentioned and many others!!   I don’t need to be a LL but ad a tenant you definitely need LL to remain LL! Just jerp on looking across the UK eventually you’ll source a LL willing to take you on. Just he prepared to move though.

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  6. paulgbar666

    You do sound to me to be an excellent tenant which makes your situation even more unfair. But clearly your LL will be changing the business model of it to ultimately charge far more rent than you can afford.   I do feel for you and your circumstances.   You are definitely a victim of the system. Indeed it is probably fear of it that has led your LL to change business model as is her prerogative.   But you sound like a tenant who does things correctly and I certainly consider that the Council might he able to source a LL willing to take on what would seem to be an excellent tenant and not the usual council dross. I suggest you start looking in areas where you can afford the prevailing market rents.   Certainly big up the fact that you work. Even part-time shows a commitment by you to enfranchise your own domestic circumstances. That can be a big persuader for a LL.   Were I in the market for a DSS tenant you sound like an excellent prospect.   But like many LL I wouldn’t be much use to you as I am desperate to leave the PRS for all reasons mentioned and many others!!   I don’t need to be a LL but as a tenant you definitely need LL to remain LL! Just keep on looking across the UK eventually you’ll source a LL willing to take you on. Just be prepared to move though!

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