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Renters Reform Bill abandoned

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Following the announced election on the 4th of July 2024, it appears that the Renters Reform Bill has now been abandoned after it failed to become law before parliament was prorogued.

The Renters Reform Bill was introduced in order to fulfil the 2019 manifesto commitment by the Conservative party to provide a fairer market for landlords and tenants, including the abolition of Section 21 evictions. The legislation was originally promised by Theresa May back in 2019, and subsequently by both Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak in their roles as Prime Minister. It was finally introduced to the House of Commons on the 17th May 2023, but there were initial concerns about the implications of this bill and the potential lack of protection for landlords.

After years of back and forth and failed promises, the bill has now been shelved after failing to progress before the dissolution of Parliament. The Conservatives had until Friday 24th May 2024 to push through this legislation if they wanted to fulfil their promise. Several other bills were pushed through parliament in order to make them law in what is referred to as the “wash-up period”- where legislation is rapidly pushed through in the period between when the election is called, and the dissolution of parliament. Despite other bills such as the Leasehold Reform Bill being pushed through to become law, this has not been the case for the Renters Reform Bill.

There have been no official announcements as to why the bill was not waved through parliament.

If the legislation had been passed, it would have put an end to Section 21 no-fault evictions and caused massive changes to the landlord and tenant market. Section 21 notices are a form of eviction notice which landlords can give without a reason if there is an assured shorthold tenancy.

For now, landlords are still able to serve Section 21 notices, but this is no guarantee that there will not be a law of this nature in the future. However, what happens next depends on the party that is in power after the election.

Both the Conservatives and Labour parties have previously committed to abolishing the Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions. Labour have pledged to complete these reforms once promised by the Conservative party. Shadow Housing Minister Matthew Pennycook said, “Labour will pass renters reform legislation that levels decisively the playing field between landlords and tenants.”

What this means for the future is that whichever party is elected would have to start from scratch when it comes to developing new legislation around rented housing. Therefore, it could be a significant amount of time before any subsequent bill of similar nature is enacted.

By Holly Monk, commercial and dispute resolution team