The Financial Times claims the Renters’ Reform Bill will have its Second Reading in Parliament on Monday, 23 October 2023. This long-awaited legislation introduces the biggest changes to the private rented sector (PRS) in over 30 years.
Various journalists have reported that various backbench Tory MPs were effectively blocking the Bill. However, the FT reports: “Michael Gove, levelling-up secretary, is understood to have won the internal battle over the legislation and it will now have its crucial second reading in the House of Commons on Monday.”
“There will then be a ‘carry-over motion’ which will allow the bill to make it through into the next parliamentary session that begins with the King’s Speech on November 7. “
The Bill, initially announced in 2019 and introduced in May 2023, will introduce the following changes:
- Periodic tenancies to become standard.
- Abolishing Section 21 repossessions.
- Reforming Section 8 grounds for repossession.
- Requiring landlords to meet the Decent Homes Standard.
- Establishing a new ombudsman covering private landlords.
- Tenants to have the legal right to request a pet in their home.
- Introduction of a Property Portal listing landlords’ obligations.
To placate PRS landlords Gove pledges that the changes to Section 21 will not be introduced until various reforms to the justice system are in place, including prioritising cases such as anti-social behaviour. Gove also said the government would protect the right of landlords to increase rents in line with market levels.
The Leeds Property Association has campaigned that the loss of fixed term tenancies and abolition of section 21 will cause problems for student tenancies which use fixed term lets based on the academic year. The LPA says the removal of fixed term tenancies will force student landlords to agree open-ended tenancies, where the landlord has no certainty of when a tenant may leave. The government has made various statements that the student sector is being looked at.
The NRLA has also stated “Adding to this uncertainty is the impeding repeal of Section 21, which currently empowers landlords to serve notice to vacate to tenants. Without this mechanism, students and student landlords face an unsettling reality: the inability to ensure property availability for incoming student tenants each academic year. These proposed reforms threaten to destabilise the well-established model of student housing.”