min read

LATEST: Housing minister changes mind on renting reforms - in landlords' favour

jacob young

The Government has been moved to reassure Tory MPs that its Renters (Reform) Bill will not damage the private rented sector following the leaking of a letter by housing minister Jacob Young.

Within the letter, he says several changes to the Bill will be made during its Report stage in parliament.

While campaigners say this constitutes ‘watering down’ the legislation, landlord groups and many MPs say the changes are necessary to make the legislation workable when it goes live, most likely later this year.

The leaked letter from Young promises that Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions will not be abolished until the courts are up to speed. This contradicts comments recently by Michael Gove that the ban would go ahead without upgrades to the courts system before the General Election.

Young’s letter goes on to assuage Tory MPs on other point. This includes changing the Bill so that tenants must stay in a property for at least six months before being able to give notice (it was two months originally) and promising to review the national system of council-run licencing schemes which, in some ways will be duplicated by the Bill’s proposed national landlord portal.

Student landlords

Young also promises to ensure that the Bill will enable student landlords of any property type (not just HMOs) to evict tenants and therefore have certainty at the end of each academic year that a property will be vacant for the next group student tenants.

The minister also says in the letter that those evicting tenants from longer-term rentals will not be able to re-let them as holiday lets, a loophole Devon MP Selaine Saxby has highlighted, and that Local Authorities will be required to support vulnerable tenants who are evicted via a Section 8 notice.

Also, Young says the proposed introduction of ‘periodic tenancies’ replacing ‘fixed term’ tenancies will be reviewed before it is implemented.

“This position reflects the fact that, once section 21 is abolished, fixed terms will have little benefit,” he says.

"In the new system, both landlords and tenants will continue to be able to communicate about when either party wishes to end the tenancy, landlords will have more grounds under section 8 to evict tenants at any point – and our new amendment on the initial six months, detailed above, will provide landlords certainty that a tenant cannot leave for the first six months, replicating the benefits of fixed terms for landlords.”


Ben Beadle (pictured), Chief Executive of the NRLA - which is named in the letter as ‘having concerns’ about the legislation - says: “All the rumour, speculation and off-the record briefings about the future of the Bill has caused a huge amount of concern and uncertainty for tenants and responsible landlords.

“The Government has a mandate to end section 21 repossessions. Our focus has been on ensuring that the replacement system works, and is fair, to both tenants and responsible landlords. The changes being proposed would achieve this balance.

“Ministers now need to crack on to ensure the Bill can proceed with the scrutiny it deserves.”

Faustian pact

But both Generation Rent and the Renters’ Reform Coalition say the letter proves the Government is weakening the Bill following lobbying by ‘landlord MPs’, with the latter’s spokesperson Tom Darling saying: “So now we see the price the Government has paid in their Faustian bargain with the landlord lobby.

“Selling renters down the river with concessions that will put off the vast majority of renters from feeling the benefits of these reforms indefinitely, promising to reduce the burdens on landlords to meet licensing standards, and locking tenants in unsafe and unsuitable housing.”

The Renters (Reform) Bill will now go forward to its next stage in the Commons after the Easter parliamentary recess.

Read the full and current amendements to the Bill


Renters reform bill
jacob young
periodic tenancies
Section 21
Section 8