MPs pushing for greater landlord protections in Renters (Reform) Bill

A series of draft amendments from Conservative backbench MPs reflect fears that the Bill will cause landlords to sell up, reducing the number of rental properties available. The proposals include making it a legal requirement that an impact assessment on the courts must be published by the Justice Secretary before a ban on no-fault evictions could be implemented.

Children's letter blocks spelling out the word rent with hand holding a house block

Speaking to the BBC on 25 February 2024, Housing Secretary Micheal Gove, MP, stated Section 21 (of the Housing Act 1988) evictions will be outlawed and money put into the courts to ensure that the ban is enforced by the time of the next election.

In response, Shadow Housing Secretary Angela Rayner, MP, accused the UK Government of betraying renters and Labour has promised to ban no-fault evictions, "no ifs, no buts", if it wins a general election.

Alleviating the housing crisis

In December 2023, Propertymark submitted written evidence to the Public Bill Committee on the Renters (Reform) Bill, citing data demonstrating the level of concern amongst members about measures likely to make the private rented sector increasingly hostile to property owners and the unintended consequences for people in need of homes.

More housing is required for all tenures to help meet demand. Given this, the UK Government must get its rental reform right to avoid exacerbating the housing crisis.

Reliable access to justice is fundamental

Currently, a third of all possession cases are Section 21 notices, which are ‘accelerated’ claims that bypass the court system. The Bill plans to remove Section 21 and extend the grounds for possession under Section 8 instead – which will mean many more cases have to go through the courts.

Since the Bill was published in May 2023, letting agents and landlords have expressed fears they could end up left in limbo, uncertain how long they will be expected to wait for a hearing and ultimately, possession of their property.

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13 Nov 2023
Propertymark is single voice for agents at Renters' Reform Committee

Propertymark wrote to the Lord Chancellor in August 2023 advocating for a full pilot of the proposals to remove Section 21, mediation and a new possession process before rolling out the new reforms across the country. We believe testing and learning will provide better outcomes and ensure informed decision-making.

So far, the UK Government has not reassured Propertymark members that sufficient progress has been made to improve capacity in the court system and digitise the process.

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24 Jan 2024
Reforming the PRS: letting agent views of the Renters (Reform) Bill

Propertymark campaigning for a balanced Bill

To ensure the UK Government’s plans to reform the private rented sector are fit for purpose and will work in practice, Propertymark has carried out extensive campaigning. We will continue to engage with senior officials at DLUHC, provide evidence at Minister-led roundtables and make your views clear at select committee sessions in Parliament.

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13 Dec 2023
Propertymark is a specialist witness for parliamentary PRS report

Action agents can take

Writing to your MP as a resident and business owner or employee is a powerful way of ensuring your voice is heard. There is a huge demand for rented property across the country, so it is vital that legislative change is fit for purpose and does not cause landlords to leave the sector or deter new entrants from providing much-needed homes to rent.

For the Bill to succeed for tenants, landlords and property agents it needs to be strengthened in a number of areas.

Allowing fixed term tenancies will give tenants more choice and security. Further clarity is needed on the role of new redress requirements for landlords as this is crucial to the effectiveness of any overhaul.

The regulation of property agents must be included in the legislation and the court system must have capacity to bolster the confidence of landlords and property agents in an evidence-based possession process following the abolition of Section 21.

Unless there is provision for all stakeholders the changes will not improve renting for tenants overall.

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Timothy Douglas Head of Policy and Campaigns | Propertymark