Ban on 'no-fault' evictions may be in vain if government fails to invest in legal aid
The Law Society of England and Wales has expressed concerns about the enforcement of the Renters Reform Bill, ahead of the government debate today (23 October) on the reform of the rental market.
Law Society president Nick Emmerson said: “We welcome the Renters Reform Bill and are pleased the government recognises the need to ban ‘no-fault’ evictions. However, we remain concerned about the government’s ability to ensure tenants can enforce these newly afforded rights under the bill.
“With the cost-of-living crisis and high interest rates, renters may be unable to afford legal advice if they face eviction. For renters at risk of losing their home, access to housing legal aid becomes vital.
“Many renters on low incomes cannot receive the advice they are legally entitled to, with 42% of the population unable to access a legal aid provider in their local area.* Without legal aid, the bill’s new measures will be far less effective than they should be.
“The bill may also lead to a short-term increase in evictions and contested hearings. Renters who are unable to access legal aid will be forced to represent themselves which will place additional pressure on the courts and exacerbate court delays.
“We urge the government to invest in both the legal aid system and the courts to ensure renters can access justice and are protected when facing eviction.
“Without immediate investment, the bill’s commitment to progress and reforming the rental market will be in vain.”
Notes to editors
- *Statistics taken from the Legal Aid Agency directory of providers (March 2023) and the Office of National Statistics (2022)
- The Renters Reform Bill has its second reading in the House of Commons on 23 October
- Learn more about our work on housing legal aid
- View our housing legal aid desert map
About the Law Society
The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.
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