The long-awaited Renters' Reform Bill, promised 14 months ago, is likely to be introduced to the House of Commons “very soon.”
The Bill is set to include the scrapping of Section 21 eviction powers and the start of the concept of lifetime deposits transferable from one property to another when a tenant moves.
It was announced in the Queen’s Speech in December 2019 and had been a prominent pledge for the Conservatives in that month’s election - but that was before the emergence of Coronavirus.
However, it appears to be back on the government’s agenda according to Kelly Tolhurst, a minister at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
She has made a surprise announcement in an answer to a question about what steps were being taken to ensure the security of tenants in the private rental sector.
Tolhurst told MPs: “The government are committed to enhancing renters’ security by abolishing no-fault evictions. During the Covid-19 pandemic, our collective efforts have been focused on protecting people during the outbreak. This has included introducing longer notice periods and preventing evictions at the height of the pandemic on public health grounds. We will introduce a renters’ reform Bill very soon.”
When pressed further, she continued: “We are committed to abolishing no-fault evictions under section 21. Obviously, we have already taken some action. Last week, for example, my right hon. friend the Secretary of State increased the ban on evictions for a further six weeks. We have also introduced six months’ notice, which means that people who receive an order now will find that it will not go through the courts until July. We are committed to making sure that we protect anybody who is suffering homelessness. That has been borne out by the level of investment that we have put into the sector during the pandemic. We will keep all these measures under review.”
When asked about the timing of the Bill last September, housing minister Christopher Pincher told the Commons: “We will do that at the appropriate time when there is a sensible and stable economic and social terrain on which to do it.”
The Bill was one of dozens of proposed pieces of legislation to have been pushed back as Parliamentary and civil service time was occupied by Coronavirus and, until recently, Brexit.