The long-awaited legislation to improve renters’ rights, which was due to be published this week – more than four years after the government pledged to abolish Section 21 evictions – has been delayed again.
The secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities, Michael Gove, announced last week that the draft bill would be published this week and would “change the way the relationship between landlords and tenants works, providing tenants with new protection, which should ensure they are better protected against arbitrary rent increases”.
However, the Mirror newspaper reports this morning that “procedural issues” have caused the delay in introducing the Bill to Parliament.
In 2019, the then prime minister, Theresa May, promised to scrap Section 21 evictions, and later that year Boris Johnson vowed in the Conservative party general election manifesto “a better deal for renters”, including the eviction ban.
Ministers published a rental reform white paper in summer 2022, but with six different housing ministers since 2021, draft legislation has yet to go before parliament for debate.
Shadow housing secretary Lisa Nandy has criticised the government’s failure to publish the Renters’ Reform Bill.
She warned the further delay would fuel doubts that ministers will deliver fully on their promises to the 4.4million households privately renting in the UK.
Nandy said: “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.”
Labour has promised to bring in its own renter reform charter to beef up rights if it gets into power.
“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,” Nandy said.
Alongside the proposed reforms to the private rented sector, Labour has said it will make wider changes to the housing system to build more homes.
Nandy pointed to the Conservative’s record of failure on housebuilding, after it has caved to pressure on MPs over housing targets.
The Tories have scrapped housebuilding targets following pressure from backbenchers
The Labour MP added: “Labour has ambitious plans to get Britain building, delivering more genuinely affordable homes to own, more social housing and a better regulated, professionalised private rented sector.
“Under a Labour government, people will once again have access to the security and dignity of a decent, affordable home.”
A Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities spokesman said: “We are absolutely committed to delivering a fairer deal for renters.
“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.
“We are also introducing a Decent Homes Standard for the Private Rented Sector for the first time ever which will make sure privately rented homes are safe and decent.”