Renters' Reform Bill

The Renters' Reform Bill aims to reform the rental market, including 'no-fault' evictions and balancing the rights of tenants and landlords.

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.

Read the bill

Our view

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

However, 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.

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.

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.

We are disappointed that the abolition of section 21 will be delayed until further court reform of the possessions process takes place.

The government should clearly outline a roadmap for the necessary reforms and provide a timeline for them.

We’re also concerned that enforcing the bill’s provisions will require clarity and further resourcing to be effective, while clauses on mandatory grounds for eviction should instead give this discretion to the courts.

Find out more about our court reform work

Next steps

The Renters’ Reform Bill is progressing through parliament

Check the bill’s progress

What’s changing

Maximise your Law Society membership with My LS