Today’s Queen’s Speech, setting out the government’s legislative programme for the next year, is expected to include rental reform.
It’s thought one measure will be the long-awaited Renters Reform Bill, first promised in spring 2019.
This is expected to ban Section 21 evictions, strengthen the Section 8 notice process, create a scheme of ‘lifetime deposits’ for tenants to make it less expensive for renters to move home.
Campaigning charity Shelter is pushing for the government to introduce the Bill and make a pledge to that end today.
In a blog setting out a wish list for the speech, Shelter says: “Private renters have been waiting since 2019 for the government to follow through on the promise to scrap Section 21 ‘no fault evictions.’ It was something government said it would do in last year’s Queen’s Speech and is a huge bit of unfinished business.”
The campaigning charity admits it understands the government timetable may have been derailed by Coronavirus but it insists this commitment cannot slip further. “The pandemic has exposed exactly why reform of the private rented sector is so urgently needed. Due to the precarious nature of renting, the government had to step in and ban all evictions from the sector to avoid a wave of homelessness” it says.
“Our latest research shows that over three million private renters have been forced to live in unsafe or unhealthy conditions. The fear of being served with a ‘no-fault’ eviction notice stops renters from complaining about their living conditions, meaning bad landlords are not held to account.”
Shelter claims that in the past 20 years, the sector has doubled in size and that now families and older people are struggling in privately rented homes that offer little security or routes to redress when things go wrong.
“The government has acknowledged the problems in the sector, now they must get on and deliver the solutions.
“Throughout the past 18 months, our homes were meant to have been the first line of defence against coronavirus – the Queen’s Speech must ensure that they are genuinely safe and suitable for those who live in them. It can do that by making sure that renters, both social and private, get reforms to regulation that will make them safer and more secure in their homes. And by making sure that planning reform helps to tackle our shortage of social homes, rather than making it worse.”
The speech is also expected to announce new legislation to overhaul the planning system in England.
The government unveiled proposals last summer to replace case-by-case assessment of planning applications with a new zoning system.
The government says this will speed up the planning process and help councils to meet new house-building targets.