The Government is to finally introduce its long-delayed renting reforms into parliament later today following Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) in the Commons.
The Bill, which is to be called the Renters (Reform) Bill, will get its first reading just after lunchtime and, it is understood, a draft version of the full Bill will be released soon afterwards.
Looking at the official announcement this morning ahead of the parliamentary action, it’s clear that almost all of the measures outlined within the Fairer Renting white paper will be included.
Described as a ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity to reform the private rented sector, Ministers are keen to present the Bill as giving both renters and landlords more certainty particularly given Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions are to be abolished.
They believe the beefed-up Section 8 notice process will make it easier for landlords to recover properties when they need to – so they can sell their property if they want to, move in a close family member, or when tenants wilfully do not pay rent.
Notice periods will also be reduced where tenants have been irresponsible – for example breaching their tenancy agreement or causing damage to the property.
As announced previously, the reforms will “strengthen powers to evict anti-social tenants, broadening the disruptive and harmful activities that can lead to eviction and making it quicker to evict a tenant acting anti-socially”.
Other key measures already announced in the consultation and white paper include a:
Sean Hooker, Head of Redress at the PRS, says: “We need to see a more detailed version of what the Bill will do – which will be apparent when the first draft is published later today.
“Let’s be clear that nothing will change immediately and the parliamentary approval and debate process will take months to complete
“We are looking forwarding to working the Government to make this work.”
AdvoCATS founder Jen Berezai says: "This is a great day, not just for pet owning tenants and those aspiring to have animal companions, but also for landlords who may wish to consider pets but saw too big a financial risk until now.
"The inclusion of pet reform amongst the other big issues detailed in the bill is a welcome recognition of the importance and value of pets in our lives, and we look forward to seeing the new proposed legislation make its way through the parliamentary process and become law."
Housing Secretary Michael Gove says: “Our new laws introduced to Parliament today will support most responsible landlords who provide quality homes to their tenants, while delivering our manifesto commitment to abolish Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions.
“This will ensure that everyone can live somewhere which is decent, safe and secure – a place they’re truly proud to call home.”
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association
“Responsible landlords need to be confident that when Section 21 ends, where they have a legitimate reason, they will be able to repossess their properties as quickly as possible,” he says.
“Without this assurance, the Bill will only exacerbate the rental housing supply crisis many tenants now face.
“Whilst we welcome the Government’s pledge to ensure landlords can effectively recover properties from anti-social tenants and those failing to pay rent, more detail is needed if the Bill is going to work as intended.
“Ministers must develop a plan to improve the speed and efficiency with which the courts process possession claims.
“Although the Government has accepted NRLA calls to digitise cases, staff numbers need to increase in the court system as well to meet the needs of these reforms.
“Likewise, the Government must recognise the serious concerns of landlords letting to students about open ended tenancies.
“Without the ability to plan around the academic year, students will have no certainty that properties will be available to rent when they need them.
“We will continue to work with the Government, MPs and Peers to ensure the Bill workable and fair to both responsible landlords and tenants.”
Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns, Propertymark
“Reforms to the private rented sector in England have been long awaited and the Bill will bring much needed clarity to letting agents, their landlords and tenants.
“Propertymark will support the UK Government to ensure the specific details work in practice for those on the ground, whilst providing both security and fairness for both parties of the rental agreement.
“It is also important implementation is well planned and managed as these reforms are significant for the sector.”
Dan Wilson Craw, Acting Director, Generation Rent
“Arbitrary Section 21 evictions make it impossible for tenants to put down roots and report problems about their home with confidence.
“Abolishing them will take away much of the stress of renting and improve communication and trust between tenants and landlords.
“The new Property Portal and Ombudsman have the potential to make it much harder for criminal landlords to operate.”