The Renters’ Reform Bill is set for its next parliamentary hurdle on Wednesday, 24 April 2024. This follows confirmation by government officials who manage the parliamentary diary.

The bill will enter its report stage and third reading during this session. This allows for amendments before it progresses to the House of Lords for further scrutiny.

The government has expressed strong commitment to the Bill, emphasizing its goal of creating a fairer rental market for both tenants and landlords. However, challenges remain in getting the legislation passed before the summer recess and potential general election later this year.

A key sticking point is a group of nearly 50 Conservative MPs who have threatened to vote against the Bill unless their concerns are addressed. To gain their consent, at the start of the Easter weekend the government stated that the amendments it would table would include:

  • Accepting a proposal by the cross-party housing select committee that when fixed term tenancy agreements end, “tenants be unable to give two months’ notice to leave until they have been in a property for at least four months”.
  • Reviewing the operation of the courts before ending section 21 for existing tenancies to ensure the justice system can cope with the increased workload.
  • Ensuring all types of student housing, including one and two bed properties, are covered by the planned ground for possession to protect the annual cycle of the student housing market. This will ensure landlords can guarantee to prospective students that properties will be available to rent from the start of each academic year.
  • Reviewing the need for local authority licensing schemes in light of the proposed property portal, an idea contained in the original Renters Reform Bill.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association says: “Our focus has been on ensuring that when section 21 repossessions end, the replacement system works and is fair, to both tenants and responsible landlords.”

“Tenants should rightly be empowered to hold rogue and criminal landlords to account to root out the minority who bring the sector into disrepute.”

“However, it is vital that the majority of responsible landlords have confidence in the Bill to provide the homes for rent the country needs. The amendments proposed by the Government strike that balance.”

“It is now important to provide certainty to the market, so it can transition smoothly to the new system.  We therefore call on MPs to ensure swift passage of the Bill through Parliament with the Government’s planned changes. This should be underpinned by action to improve the justice system for renters and landlords alike.”