Social welfare and housing

Renters' Reform Bill

The proposals

In April 2019, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) consulted on proposals to:

  • end ‘no-fault’ evictions by repealing section 21 of the Housing Act 1988
  • extend the grounds for possession under section 8
  • remove landlords’ ability to grant new assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs)
  • improve the processing of repossession orders

In November 2019, the Conservative party manifesto included a commitment to introduce a Renters’ Reform Bill that would repeal section 21 and scrap new ASTs.

Our view

We are broadly supportive of the proposals to end ‘no-fault’ evictions.

Section 21 is a leading cause of homelessness, with local authorities struggling to find the resources to act against rogue landlords under the Deregulation Act 2015.

However, there are some situations that warrant landlords evicting the tenant before the end of the tenancy. We therefore favour proposals to widen the grounds for possession under section 8.

In order to not discourage landlords from entering into longer fixed-term tenancies, we balanced the rights of tenants and landlords in our response by arguing for more court discretionary powers, rather than making possession orders mandatory.

Next steps

We anticipate that the Renters’ Reform Bill will be released soon.

The release has been delayed as a result of the significant impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the housing sector, which has highlighted the importance of a better balance between landlords and tenants.

In January 2021, parliamentary under-secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, Kelly Tollhurst MP, announced that the bill would be released "very soon".

She has since stepped down due to personal reasons and Eddie Hughes MP was appointed as her replacement. This may further delay the release of the bill.

Although the bill was not included in the May 2021 Queen’s speech, MHCLG has since confirmed the government's commitment to improving the rental sector and standards for tenants.

What’s changing

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