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Renters Reform Coalition warns Renters Reform Bill will be a ‘failure’

  • 24/04/2024
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Renters Reform Coalition warns Renters Reform Bill will be a ‘failure’
The Renters Reform Coalition has said that it will not accept the Renters Reform Bill, warning that, in its current form, it will be a “failure”.

The coalition, which consists of 20 leading organisations supporting and representing private renters, said in an open letter that its concerns about the Renters Reform Bill “have not been taken seriously”, adding that ministers have met with lobbyists for landlords and estates twice as often compared to groups representing renters.

It continued: “Instead of engaging with us, the bill has been watered down again and again by the government, with several rounds of damaging concessions to backbench MPs that have fundamentally weakened it. The amendments tabled by the government are just the final straw.”


Legislation ‘preserves the central power imbalance’

The coalition said that the result of the backtracking will be that Section 21 eviction notices will be abolished in “name only”, there was “no guarantee” that a full ban would ever take place, and the new tenancy system to replace it was “little better.”

“This legislation is intended to give the impression of improving conditions for renters, but in fact it preserves the central power imbalance at the root of why renting in England is in crisis,” it said.

The coalition said that tenants face “constant insecurity”, “poor conditions”, “lack of affordability” and the threat of being made homeless.

The group said that, in its current form, the bill “isn’t the change we have been promised”, but said it was “not too late to fix it”, calling on ministers to table amendments that “enact our proposals”.


Coalition’s conditions for support

The coalition said that, in order to get its full support, the following conditions should be met:

  • Reversing the concessions to the bill made to backbench MPs that see the end of Section 21 eviction notices “delayed indefinitely”, “trapping tenants into tenancy for six months” and “reviewing selective licensing to reduce the burden on landlords”.
  • Give tenants four months’ notice.
  • Protect renters from eviction under new landlord circumstances grounds for the first two years of a tenancy.
  • Implement stronger safeguards to prevent unscrupulous landlords abusing new grounds for eviction.
  • Give courts maximum discretion to identify whether there are “good reasons why an eviction should not take place”.
  • Limit in-tenancy rent insurance to the lower of either inflation or wage growth.

It was confirmed at the end of March that the Renters Reform Bill would be brought to the Commons after Easter with some changes to original proposals.

The proposed changes to the Renters Reform Bill include:

  • When fixed-term tenancy agreements end, tenants should be unable to give two months’ notice to leave until they have been in a property for at least four months.
  • Reviewing the operation of courts before abolishing Section 21 for existing tenants.
  • Ensuring all types of student housing, including one- and two-bed properties, are covered by the planned ground for possession.
  • Reviewing the need for local authority licensing schemes in light of the proposed property portal.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, had said earlier this year that no-fault evictions would be banned by the next election, but his comments today seem to backtrack on that promise.

However, in a report on the BBC yesterday, Gove said that he “hopes” no-fault evictions will be banned in the Renters Reform Bill, but it was dependent on the House of Lords.

The third reading of the Renters Reform Bill is taking place today.

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