By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
By Peter Mitchell

Head of PR, Angels Media


After delays, departures and disruption, Renters (Reform) Bill finally runs out of steam

The Government’s controversial Renters (Reform) Bill has fallen victim to Rishi Sunak’s election announcement and has been shelved.

The legislation – which was billed as the most radical reform of the Private Rented Sector for a generation and was subject to significant amendments – took a year to progress through the Commons and had just begun its Committee Stage in the House of Lords.

But the election announcement meant an early end to parliamentary business and Leader of the House of Commons, Penny Mordaunt, did not include the Bill in her list of legislation to be debated before Parliament was prorogued yesterday – a process known as ‘wash-up’.


In her Business Statement to members of the House of Commons, she confirmed that the Finance Bill, the Digital Markets Bill, the Post Office Horizons Bill and measures to compensate people affected by the infected blood scandal, will all be given time before dissolution, as was the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill.

But there was no mention of the Renters (Reform) Bill which proposed a number of measures including:
•    The abolition of Section 21 (so-called ‘no-fault’ evictions)
•    The scrapping of ASTs in favour of periodic tenancies
•    Measures to make it easier for tenants to keep pets
•    The creation of a landlords’ property portal

Neil Cobbold, managing director of PayProp UK and Commercial Director of Reapit UK&I, said: “The end of the Renters (Reform) Bill is a setback for both tenants and landlords who have been waiting for clarity and stability in the rental market.

What comes next

“This delay extends the holding pattern the sector has found itself in since these reforms were first raised in the Conservative manifesto in 2019.

“As an industry we now need to consider what comes next. We know that Labour have wanted to go further than the Renters (Reform) Bill in many areas, but recent comments from Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves on the possibility of local rent controls in England will not have reassured the market.

“While we wait to see what is in the Labour manifesto, we should prepare by looking at the amendments Shadow Minister for Housing and Planning Matthew Pennycook MP put forward as the Bill was debated in the Commons.”

And Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark, the agents’ leading membership organisation, said: “The legislation was introduced very late on and whilst attempting to please everyone, it failed to please anyone.

“Many agents will be relieved that the current government’s plans to meddle with fixed term tenancies and reforming eviction grounds with little realisation of the unintended consequences will no longer pass, but this is soon outweighed by a sense of uncertainty and apprehension as to what the next government will do.

“Propertymark remain committed to engaging with politicians from all sides and will continue to call for agent regulation, tax reform, more resources for the courts and enforcement authorities, as well as ensuring renting property retains flexible tenancy options that have made the private rented sector the success it is today.”

Gary Wright, managing director of deposit alternative specialists, flatfair, said: “The Renters (Reform) Bill was controversial and caused a lot of upheaval inside the PRS.

“But perhaps there would be some advantages in a new start with an emphasis on encouraging the use of technology to drive the sector and a reform of the outdated deposit system which, we know, is wanted by tenants.”

Significant setback

And Allison Thompson, National Lettings Managing Director of Leaders Romans Group, said the Bill’s failure to pass into law was a significant setback and called on the next government to put housing at the heart of its agenda.

“We are deeply disappointed that the much-anticipated Renters (Reform) Bill will not pass into legislation due to the upcoming general election on July 4th. This Bill has been in development for several years, aimed at addressing critical issues that impact both tenants and landlords.

“The Bill's failure to pass into law is a significant setback. While many of the Bill's provisions were contentious, we believed that continued dialogue and amendments would have addressed the concerns of all stakeholders, ultimately benefiting the rental market.

“LRG has consistently advocated for a balanced approach that protects both tenants' rights and landlords' interests. The failure to pass the Renters Reform Bill highlights the need for comprehensive housing policies that provide stability and address the critical issues facing the sector - principally the undersupply of good-quality rental homes.

“As the UK faces a housing crisis, it is imperative that the incoming government prioritises housing policies that ensure stability and long-term solutions. Over the past 13 years, there have been 16 different housing ministers, demonstrating a lack of continuity and commitment. We urge the next administration to place housing at the heart of its agenda, providing the consistency and long-term focus that the sector desperately needs.”

Leasehold reform bid

Commenting on the decision to try to progress the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill, Propertymark’s Tim Douglas, said : “Leasehold reform is much needed, so it is welcome that the legislation looks set to pass. We know from the data that we have discovered as part of our campaigning on the issue that many leaseholders regret buying a leasehold property plus complex leases and escalating ground rents can make leasehold property more difficult to sell.

“The proposals are a step in the right direction and will bring in more protections for consumers. However, to strengthen the measures further we have long said that those buying, selling and renting out leasehold properties must be suitably qualified and regulated, ground rents must be reduced to a peppercorn and issues around event fees must be tackled. It is imperative that the current government don’t miss the opportunity or consumers and the sector will be left waiting once again for further reforms, with what will feel like unfinished business to many.”


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal