The Renters’ Reform Bill – one of the biggest proposed changes to the private housing market in recent years – has now been delayed. Although the Bill was given its second reading in Parliament last week, the Government’s Housing Secretary Michael Gove said that the headline change in the law – the end of ‘no-fault’ or Section 21 evictions – would not take place until improvements had taken place in the court system.

Maunder Taylor offers a variety of property and legal services – from commercial property to rent in Barnet, to house valuations in Potters Bar, to residential block management in Watford. Here we look at the latest developments surrounding the proposed legislation in more detail.

What Was in the Bill?

The Bill contained a number of proposals for the private rental sector. These included greater powers for tenants who want to have a pet in their accommodation and a new property portal. This would help give landlords and tenants a better understanding of their legal rights and responsibilities. For a fuller breakdown of the Bill, check out our previous blog post here.

However, the principal change which has attracted the most attention is the clause on ‘no-fault’ evictions. These allow the landlord to serve their tenant a Section 21 notice, which means the occupiers have to vacate the property within two months. After this period has elapsed, the landlord can apply for a court order to evict them (without giving the tenant a reason for doing it).

Under the Bill’s proposed changes, all tenancies would become ‘rolling contracts’ with no fixed end date. Landlords would still be able to evict tenants in certain circumstances – for instance if they wanted to sell their own property, or if they (or a close family member) wanted to move in, or if the occupant was repeatedly guilty of anti-social behaviour or had not been paying the rent.

What Happened Last Week?

On Monday, when the Bill was debated in the House of Commons, Mr Gove announced that the Section 21 ban would not come into effect until it decides that’sufficient progress’ has been made in modernising the current court system. This means moving much of the work online, making it easier to prioritise certain cases – such as those evictions involving alleged anti-social behaviour. However, the Government has not put a timeframe on how long these improvements to the courts will take to achieve.

The remainder of the Bill was given a second reading and is still proceeding through Parliament – it still needs to pass through the committee stage, and be approved by the House of Lords, before it receives Royal Assent and finally becomes law.

What Has Been the Reaction?

The Labour Party and the bodies representing tenants both criticised the Section 21 delay. Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said the decision was ‘betraying renters’ and the changes to the court system would take years to complete. The subject was also raised at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

Tom Darling, campaign manager of the Renters’ Reform Coalition, described the priority on court reform as ‘absurd’ and pointed out that the Government had been promising to end no-fault evictions for four years – without success.

However, The National Residential Landlords’ Association – who Mr Gove addressed this week at their annual conference – had warned that the Bill could mean the shortage of homes available in the sector would be further reduced, hurting renters.

The NRLA’s chief executive, Ben Beadle said: “Following our extensive campaigning, we welcome the approach taken by ministers to ensure court improvements are made before Section 21 ends.”

Commercial Property to Rent in Barnet from Maunder Taylor

Maunder Taylor have represented both landlords and tenants for many years. Whether you are an owner or a leaseholder, you can rely on us for independent, impartial advice. If you would like to know more about any of our services, follow this link and fill in the online form or call us on 020 8446 0011. For any residential block management queries, call 01707 665 666.