Government bows to MPs and ‘waters down’ the Renters (Reform) Bill

Government bows to MPs and ‘waters down’ the Renters (Reform) Bill

0:05 AM, 29th February 2024, About 3 months ago 15

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The government is proposing changes to the Renters (Reform) Bill in a bid to head off a backbench rebellion of its MPS, the BBC reports.

The Bill, which will see Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions abolished, could see a major makeover.

According to the BBC, ministers have been consulting with Conservative MPs who are critical of the bill and have circulated draft amendments that would see some of the Bill’s controversial aspects being watered down. These amendments apparently include:

  • Minimum tenancy period: Requiring renters to live in a property for at least four months before they can give notice
  • Hearsay evidence: Allowing ‘hearsay’ evidence in eviction claims related to antisocial behaviour.

‘End the use of fixed term tenancies and no-fault repossessions’

The chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), Ben Beadle, said: “We have long accepted that the Government has a mandate to end the use of fixed term tenancies and no-fault repossessions.

“Our focus has, and continues to be, on developing a replacement system that is fair and workable for tenants and responsible landlords. This need not be a zero-sum game between the two.”

He added: “The NRLA has consistently campaigned for the Bill to balance the protections promised to tenants and the legitimate business needs of landlords to enable them to continue to provide rented homes.

“If the Government is considering amendments that would provide for assurances to landlords with a six-month minimum term and ensure confidence for all in the court process, then that balance would be struck.”

Government’s commitment to banning Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions

Michael Gove has recently expressed the government’s commitment to banning Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions before the next election, however, the proposed changes reflect the pressure it faces from within its own party.

The Renters’ Reform Bill, introduced last year, has faced opposition from around 50 Conservative MPs, including those who are landlords.

They argue that the bill could discourage landlords from renting out properties, ultimately reducing the number of available rental homes.

One Conservative MP told the BBC that ‘agreement seems to have been reached on nearly all points’ regarding the amendments.

Critics say the proposed changes could significantly impact the Bill’s effectiveness in protecting tenants in England.

‘Unacceptable for tenants to be treated as an afterthought’

The chief executive of Generation Rent, Ben Twomey, said: “It is unacceptable for tenants to be treated as an afterthought around reforms which we were told would help us.

“We will not stand by while the new law to protect and empower renters is transformed into a Landlord’s Bill of Rights.

“If the government really is going to water down the Bill even further, England’s 12 million private renters deserve to know why.”

He added: “In particular, weakening licensing schemes could compromise the safety of renters.

“These schemes give councils some of the strongest powers to tackle criminal landlords and sub-standard, dangerous homes. The plan to trap tenants in properties for six months, making it much more difficult for them to leave sub-standard or mis-sold homes, is another measure that undermines tenant welfare.”

‘Yet another betrayal of renters’

Angela Rayner, the deputy Labour leader and shadow housing secretary accused the government of ‘yet another betrayal of renters’, and this was ‘yet another example of Rishi Sunak’s weakness which means he always puts party before country’.

She also called for a government statement to be made, claiming the news had emerged in an ‘underhand way’.

Labour has promised to ban no-fault evictions if it wins the next general election.

A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: “Our landmark Renters (Reform) Bill will deliver a fairer private rented sector for both tenants and landlords. It will abolish section 21 evictions – giving people more security in their homes and empowering them to challenge poor practices.

“We continue to meet regularly with a range of groups, representing all those in the private rented sector.”


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Comments

Barbaracus

9:48 AM, 29th February 2024, About 3 months ago

I suggest Angela Rayner keeps her head down at the moment when it comes to anything to do with housing/landlords.

Although, she's always had trouble keep her gob shut so not much chance of that happening.

Ryan Stevens

10:03 AM, 29th February 2024, About 3 months ago

"The chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), Ben Beadle, said: “We have long accepted that the Government has a mandate to end the use of fixed term tenancies and no-fault repossessions."

Why has the NRLA long accepted this? In order to run a business landlords need to know they can quickly and cost effectively get their own property back. Tenants already have at least 2 months notice, more like a year if they play the court system.

Cider Drinker

10:31 AM, 29th February 2024, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ryan Stevens at 29/02/2024 - 10:03𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐞𝐟 𝐞𝐱𝐞𝐜𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐑𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐋𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝐀𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 (𝐍𝐑𝐋𝐀), 𝐁𝐞𝐧 𝐁𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐥𝐞, 𝐬𝐚𝐢𝐝: “𝐖𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐆𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐟𝐢𝐱𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐦 𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐧𝐨-𝐟𝐚𝐮𝐥𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬.
Why do the NRLA of all people, continue to spread the ‘Section 21 is a no fault eviction’ lie?
It is a NO EVIDENCE eviction. There will be reasons but with S21, they do not need to be disclosed.
Under Section 8, landlords can seek possession if they need to move in to the property. That isn’t the tenant’s fault. A mortgage provider can seek possession if the landlord fails to pay the mortgage. That isn’t the tenant is fault. There are other grounds under Section 8 that are no fault of the tenant and the government plans to introduce at least one more. Landlords wishing to sell will be allowed to gain possession. That isn’t the tenant’s fault.
The RRB does not end no-fault evictions. It simply ends NO REASON evictions. Landlords don’t evict for no reason today (unless they’re idiots).

Stella

10:36 AM, 29th February 2024, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ryan Stevens at 29/02/2024 - 10:03
Good question it seems odd that the NRLA took that stance, keeping section 21 would have been a much better idea.

Cider Drinker

11:07 AM, 29th February 2024, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Stella at 29/02/2024 - 10:36
They could simply have added a box to the Section 21 back in 2019 asking for landlords to give a reason. By now they would have some understanding of why S21 is used instead of S8.

They could look at how many properties were re-let following a successful S21 eviction. Some will have been sold or the landlords (or their families) may have moved in. How many were sold?

Ryan Stevens

11:12 AM, 29th February 2024, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Cider Drinker at 29/02/2024 - 11:07
Please don't suggest sensible solutions. We need solutions that governments can enact:-)

Next you'll be suggesting that if the government wants to solve the housing crisis it needs to build more houses.

Cider Drinker

11:30 AM, 29th February 2024, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ryan Stevens at 29/02/2024 - 11:12
The first task to solve the housing crisis is to stop immigration on grounds of fake asylum.

Martin Freeman

16:31 PM, 29th February 2024, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Cider Drinker at 29/02/2024 - 10:31
We all know that using Section 8 takes too long and is much more costly.

You are correct. Most landlords will not issue a Section 21 to remove a good tenant but use it to remove a bad tenant.

Too many bad tenants will exploit this unacceptable delay in the court system if the only recourse to Landlords is Section 8

Ryan Stevens

16:38 PM, 29th February 2024, About 3 months ago

It goes to show how bad things are when landlords even know the section numbers of the legislation they have to deal with!

How many of us are that anal that we know lots of other section numbers!

GlanACC

16:40 PM, 29th February 2024, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Martin Freeman at 29/02/2024 - 16:31
The biggest con that non payers are turning to now is the mental health excuse. as per breathing space claims it needs to be managed by another professional not just flinging your hands in the air and claiming mental health.

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