The government’s decision to wait until the pandemic ends before introducing its controversial rental reform proposals is at odds with the approach taken with NHS reforms and could harm renters, a leading group of MPs has said.
In the MHCLG Select Committee’s latest report following the inquiry into the impact of Covid on homelessness and the private rented sector, it has called on the government to urgently introduce the proposals, reminding it that the Health Secretary had told the Commons the pandemic made the NHS reforms “more not less urgent”.
The committee says: “The same logic applies to the rental reform proposals and the urgent need to remove section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions.
“If the government does not abolish section 21 before we come out of the pandemic, there will be serious consequences for renters.”
In its response, the government says the proposals will be the largest change to renting in 30 years and it is only right that it takes the time to deliver a balanced set of reforms.
It adds: “In the coming months, the government will work with key sector voices to inform reforms of how the private rented sector operates in England, and to learn lessons from our emergency response measures during the pandemic.”
But the government has rebuffed all of the committee’s recommendations, defending its route out of the evictions ban and the decision not to introduce tenant loans.
It adds: “Taken together, the measures we have put in place, including restrictions on evictions and bailiff enforcement, new court rules and financial support have protected some of the most vulnerable in our society.
“However, as highlighted by the committee, we recognise that there is still more to do. We will ensure lasting impact beyond the pandemic to provide clear routes out of homelessness and long-term security for those within the private rented sector.”