Use the tabs below to read more about the proposals for England and Wales.

Renters’ Reform Bill to abolish Section 21 in England

At the state opening of Parliament on 19 December 2019, the Queen’s Speech announced a Renters’ Reform Bill that will abolish the use of ‘no fault’ evictions by removing Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 and reforming the grounds for possession.

Renters’ Reform Bill — Section 21 to be abolished

At the state opening of Parliament on 19 December 2019, the Queen’s Speech set out Boris Johnson’s Government’s “people’s priorities” announcing a Renters’ Reform Bill that will abolish the use of ‘no fault’ evictions by removing Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 and reforming the grounds for possession.

What the UK Government is proposing:

  1. Abolishing the use of ‘no-fault’ evictions by removing Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 and reforming the grounds for possession.
  2. Give landlords more rights to gain possession of their property through the courts where there is a legitimate need for them to do so by reforming current legislation.
  3. Work to improve the court process for landlords to make it quicker and easier for them to get their property back.

We believe that in the absence of any meaningful plan to boost the level of social housing in this country, the abolition of Section 21 will impact good landlords in the private rented sector who house the nation.

If Section 21 is scrapped, Section 8 must be reformed, and a new specialist housing tribunal created. Without this, supply will almost certainly fall which will have the consequential effect of raising rents and will further discourage new landlords from investing in the sector.

A new deal for renting: resetting the balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants

The UK Government launched a consultation in July 2019 seeking views on implementing the removal Section 21 in England, as well as improving Section 8 eviction grounds. We submitted a comprehensive response to the UK Government’s consultation on planned changes to the eviction process in England.

13 Sep 2019
A new deal for renting consultation

We submitted a comprehensive 39-page document in response to the Government’s consultation on planned changes to the eviction process in England.

Changes to the current system should only take place following the development of specialist housing courts and mandatory grounds allowing landlords to regain possession of their property—they must be fair to both tenants and landlords.

To mitigate any negative impacts of the proposals, the Government must: 

  1. Consider introducing a Housing Court to ensure that the proposals are workable or adequately resource and amend the existing Courts system.
  2. Use a technological solution, possession claims must be digitised and taken online.
  3. Look to make all grounds for possession, both existing and new, mandatory in order to effectively compensate for the removal of Section 21.
  4. Ensure automatic High Court Enforcement so landlords are granted an automatic right to have their Possession Order executed by a High Court Enforcement Officer.
  5. Implement a pilot scheme before a national rollout of the proposals to evaluate the effectiveness of the new system.

Related news and resources

16 Jun 2022
White Paper claims a fairer deal for the PRS

The UK Government has published a Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper that claims it will redress the balance between landlords and 4.4 million tenants in the private rented sector (PRS).

01 Jun 2022
Lettings vision for the future

The Lettings Industry Council (TLIC) has published a report making practical and workable recommendations based on the expected changes to be introduced in the Renters' Reform Bill.

16 May 2022
Third time lucky for renters' reforms?

The Queen’s Speech on 10 May 2022, saw the UK Government announce that it would bring forward legislation to reform the private rented sector in England.

10 May 2022
Property sector impact of the Queens Speech

The Queen’s Speech, delivered today, 10 May 2022, focused on the scale of challenges facing the UK cost of living and energy crises, EU legislation still to be removed from the statute books and the impact of the war in Ukraine.

07 Apr 2022
New law to resolve COVID-19 commercial rent debts

The Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Act 2022 received Royal Assent on 24 March 2022 and means a legally binding arbitration process will be available in England and Wales for eligible commercial landlords and tenants who have not already reached an agreement to resolve outstanding commercial rent debts related to the pandemic.

02 Feb 2022
Housing forms part of UK Government's Levelling Up Plan

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove MP unveiled the UK Government’s Levelling Up White Paper which sets out a complete ‘system change’ of how government works to level up the UK.

Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Bill extends minimum notice periods from two to six months

On 23 February 2021, the Welsh Parliament passed the Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Bill that will extend the amount of notice landlords have to give from two to six months. Under the rules, rental contracts will be simplified and standardised with model contracts available. It will also mean the minimum contract a tenant can be given will be for 12 months.

We raised a number of concerns as the legislation made its way through the Welsh Parliament.

Extension of the minimum notice period
This will give all tenants, including those who flout the law, a minimum of 12 months. The proposal ignores issues with problem tenants and the impact on surrounding properties and the landlord or letting agent.

Changes to fixed term standard contracts
Landlords using fixed term contracts will be left with little option to regain possession of their property at the end of the term unless the court decides that the tenant has breached the terms of their contract.

Placing a six-month restriction on issuing a notice following the expiry of a previous notice
This proposal ignores emergency situations where the landlord may be required to regain possession of their property at short notice. It places further restriction on the already limited Section 173 procedure.

The use of break clauses in fixed term contracts
Ensuring a break clause cannot be used in contracts with a duration of less than 24 months, and cannot be activated until month 18, as well as landlords being required to serve a six month notice in relation to a break clause will create less flexibility for tenants and provide less protection for landlords.

Without reform to the existing courts system for housing cases, including making the eviction process simpler, quicker and more cost-effective, we do not believe that the legislation will achieve a better eviction process.

The Welsh Parliament’s approval of the Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Bill will introduce significant changes to the way the private rented sector operates in Wales. Collectively, having one standardised legal framework is going to enable everyone to operate in exactly the same way, giving clarity on rights and responsibilities through standard written contracts.

While in some cases these changes will provide more financial security for landlords, it also means it will take landlords 12 months to reclaim their property in the case of 'no fault evictions', which is a hammer blow to the sector. We call on the Welsh Government to now stick to its commitment for at least a six-month lead time, or longer, in light of COVID to allow agents and their landlords in Wales to prepare for the upcoming changes.

Angela Davey Past President | ARLA Propertymark

Related news and resources

19 Oct 2020
ARLA Propertymark’s concerns raised in Welsh Parliament

During a plenary debate on the general principles of the Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Bill on 13 October 2020, ARLA Propertymark was referenced by Mark Isherwood, Housing Spokesperson for the Conservatives, stating our arguments that the Bill will not secure the security of tenure and will make letting a less viable business for landlords, which in turn could push prices up if there is less housing stock available.

05 Mar 2020
Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Bill

ARLA Propertymark has responded to the Welsh Assembly’s Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee’s consultation on the Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Bill.

31 May 2022
Renting Homes (Wales) Act postponed

The Welsh Government has announced a postponement to the implementation of the Act until 1 December 2022, which was originally set to come into force on 15 July 2022.