Parliament urged to back Renters Reform Bill on its return to Commons next week

Parliament has been urged to support the Renters Reform Bill when it returns to the House of Commons next week.

The Renters (Reform) Bill is scheduled to have its report stage on 24 April 2024, with a few amendments.

The government recently told Conservative MPs that the amendments it would table to the Bill when it returns to the Commons would include:

+ Accepting a proposal by the cross-party housing select committee that when fixed term tenancy agreements end, “tenants be unable to give two months’ notice to leave until they have been in a property for at least four months.” The Committee noted that: “This will give landlords the legal certainty of at least six months’ rent at the start of a tenancy.”  Protections should be in place however to ensure tenants can leave earlier than this where properties are not of a decent standard, and to protect those suffering from domestic abuse.

+ Reviewing the operation of the courts before ending section 21 for existing tenancies to ensure the justice system can cope with the increased workload. The Select Committee noted that: “Before section 21 can be repealed, landlords must have confidence in their ability to regain possession under section 8, especially in the case of rent arrears and antisocial behaviour. The biggest obstacle to this is the capacity of the courts.”

The Law Society has warned that: “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.”

+ Ensuring all types of student housing, including one and two bed properties, are covered by the planned ground for possession to protect the annual cycle of the student housing market. This is supported by the Labour-led Local Government Association which noted that it “would give confidence to student landlords, who rent properties not considered as HMOs, that they can offer properties each academic year.”

Responding to  confirmation that the Renters (Reform) Bill will return to the House of Commons for its remaining stage on 24 April, Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association said:

“Our focus has been on ensuring that when section 21 repossessions end, the replacement system works and is fair, to both tenants and responsible landlords.

“Tenants should rightly be empowered to hold rogue and criminal landlords to account to root out the minority who bring the sector into disrepute. However, it is vital that the majority of responsible landlords have confidence in the Bill to provide the homes for rent the country needs.

“The amendments proposed by the government strike that balance.

“It is now important to provide certainty to the market, so it can transition smoothly to the new system. We therefore call on MPs to ensure swift passage of the Bill through parliament with the government’s planned changes. This should be underpinned by action to improve the justice system for renters and landlords alike.”

 

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One Comment

  1. Liz14

    Now that the Government have told local authorities that they must house those who have made themselves intentionally homeless I can foresee a rise in rent arrears. As far as anti social behaviour is concerned; as the law stands the police have to prove anti social behaviour through the courts before a landlord can evict…will this still be the case? If so it could take years to legally evict. Will a landlord have to wait 3 months before he can rent a property again if the police take a tenant to court re. drug offences as the landlord will no longer be able to evict such offenders via a s21.

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