Renters Reform Bill

On 12 July 2019, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) released a consultation looking to improve the security of tenants.

This consultation proposes removing the assured short-term tenancy (AST) regime, thereby removing the ability of landlords to evict tenants before the end of the fixed term through section 21 of Housing Act 1988.

What’s changing

The government has been committed to giving tenants more security in their homes and it's anticipated that the Renters Reform Bill will be released later this year.

Although Kelly Tollhurst MP announced that the bill would be released "very soon", she has since stepped down due to personal reasons. This may delay the release. Assistant whip Eddie Hughes has been appointed as her replacement.

The bill will include measures to abolish section 21 evictions (sometimes known as ‘no-fault evictions’) to help tenants feel more secure in their homes and consequently scrapping ASTs.

The release of this bill has been delayed as a result of the significant impact of the pandemic on the housing sector, which has highlighted the importance of a better balance between landlords and tenants.

Our view

We welcomed the opportunity to respond to this consultation.

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

However, there are some situations that warrant landlords evicting the tenant before the end of the tenancy and we therefore favour the more balanced proposals to widen section 8 of the Housing Act 1988.

We also do not want to discourage landlords from entering into longer fixed-term tenancies.

We've therefore balanced the rights of the tenants and the landlords in arguing for more court discretionary powers, rather than making possession orders mandatory in certain situations.

The MHCLG has not yet responded to the consultation but we expect the Bill to address concerns raised by the sector.

Next steps

The consultation closed on 12 October.

The MHCLG will analyse the results of the consultation.

View the consultation on the MHCLG website

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