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Renters Reform Bill - just a delay or a major rethink?

The government has back-tracked on its decision to publish the long-awaited Renters Reform Bill this week.

The Mirror newspaper reports that “procedural issues” have been blamed for the delay in introducing the Bill to Parliament. 

The Bill was first pledged by the Conservative administration back in 2019 and only last week Housing Secretary Michael Gove told Sky News that it would, at last, see the light of day this week, just days after the Coronation.


But the Mirror this morning reports: “The government had vowed to finally publish the Renters Reform Bill this week, more than four years after the Tories first promised to scrap no fault evictions. But the long-awaited overhaul has been postponed due to ‘procedural issues’.”

Over the Bank Holiday weekend speculation was mounting that Tory backbenchers were unhappy with the pro-tenant, anti-landlord sentiment contained in the proposed legislation.

Another newspaper - the online i - used unnamed sources and reported: “A group of Conservative backbenchers – some of whom are landlords and, according to Westminster sources, reportedly include the former chairman of national estate agency chain Hunters, Kevin Hollinrake – are unhappy about the pro-renter legislation and have been lobbying against it.”

Today's Mirror - a Labour-supporting publication - also carries a pledge from shadow housing secretary Lisa Nandy to introduce more far reaching reforms of the private rental sector.

Nandy tells the paper: “Our message to the government is clear. So not backtrack on the promises you have made, do not drop any commitments, do not roll over to your backbenchers again.”

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities spokesman says: “We are absolutely committed to delivering a fairer deal for renters.

“We will bring forward legislation very shortly, which will include a ban on ‘no fault’ evictions, so that all tenants have greater security in their homes and are empowered to challenge poor conditions.

“We are also introducing a Decent Homes Standard for the Private Rented Sector for the first time ever which will make sure privately rented homes are safe and decent.”

Here is the Mirror story.

  • jeremy clarke

    Has common sense prevailed?

    Barry X

    Sadly the answer has to be "No"... its just stage fright and fear... they still want to go after all those votes from the apparently vast numbers of easily fooled tenants who don't know how horribly this will all backfire on them... the only questions for the government are probably how to repackage it so they can get away with this, get the credit and of course avoid the blame and disastrous fall-out...

  • Barry X

    It would be amazingly good news if this was the beginning of the end of the whole shebang and an outbreak of common sense fell upon the land.... but I don't for a moment believe it will be...

    What will probably happen instead is there will be an outcry from the usual suspects about how the Government has "betrayed" and "failed" "millions" of tenants whose "homes are at risk" from, yes, "no fault evictions" (as if all of them were permanently on the point of being "unfairly" evicted on the whim of some typically super-wealthy but tyrannical landlord), i.e. the usual clap-trap to try and work towards making all of them Sitting Tenants (with rent controls and all the rest to quickly follow) just like in the dark-old days of the 1970s when properties were blighted by the curse of being tenanted and worth typically just 30% or so of their normal full open market value when *vacant*.... and with very-very good reason!

    High interest rates plus an exodus of landlords is of course going to make it harder and harder to get out (on top of all the tax we'll be fleeced for, i.e. tax on nothing but inflation but euphemistically called "capital gains" hahah), plus I expect there will soon be quite a few properties that are extremely hard to sell because nobody wants to buy them to rent them out but at the same time first-time buyers can't afford them and/or get mortgages, so the supply of rental properties will fall while demand rises but rents can't really keep going up because they are already becoming unaffordable (so the risk of defaulting is also increasing)...

    Yes its one gigantic mess with a timebomb on top and another underneath both waiting to go off!

  • icon

    I suspect backbenches are angry that the bill hasn't reflected feedback from MPs & industry consultation - quite right too.

  • icon

    70,000 private landlords have sold up !
    Not willing to put up with this new legislation. Which overturns the security for landlords to get repossession, from the regulations brought in by Margaret Thatcher


    So true. One sold last year, one on the market and the last one will be sold next year.

  • icon

    I have sold my penultimate one and have been buying classic cars, no more stress, lots of fun, no CGT on profit given me a new lease of life

  • Kristjan Byfield

    If this is an adjustment to be more balanced (towards landlords) then that's fab- however, if this is a pivot the other way in a desperate attempt to try and secure more votes in the next GE following the hammering in local elections last week. The conservatives could offer all rental properties free for 5 years and I still don't think they'd win much of the tenant vote- so they need to keep landlords and businesses happy instead- if they're sensible!

    Barry X

    Based on seeing them not being "sensible" year after year after year, do you really think they will now, finally, decide to be sensible?

    Don't forget that long ago they made the transition from being Conservatives to becoming Labour in Tory Clothing... fondly imagining that if the electorate liked Labour they'd LOVE them as Conservatives playing at being Labour... the only snags (and they are big ones) are that:
    (1) we suffer badly from years of Labour policies by stealth,
    (2) Labour need to differentiate themselves so have to become slightly more radicalised still,
    (3) worst of all the Labour in Tory Clothing party eventually alienate even their most loyal "heartland" voters to the extent that they clear the way for an otherwise inconceivable Labour victory at the polls and then years of otherwise unnecessary socialist political domination (with ever higher taxes, huge public spending - largely on unnecessary or pointless projects that will anyhow fail - and all that spending based on ever increasing loans that can never be repaid).

    Incidentally, among the traditional Conservative-voting electorate that they've alienated (but who've still hung on for years in the hope of them one day becoming "sensible" again - as KB put it, and because anyhow the alternatives were even more appalling) are most landlords, of course, who ideally wanted real Tories with proper Conservative policies to support and look after them - instead of vilify, target and fleece them/us - and who also hopped the Tories might one day remember they were supposed to be making the economy flourish with low taxes and all the incentives to invest that we needed... instead of turning their back on all that and going after any old votes at any cost... and of course when it came to policy making for the Private Rental Sector they noticed long ago there were more tenants than landlords so that gave them an idea about who to woo and they've been snuggling up to the likes of Shelter and Generation Rent ever since as part of their 'virtue signalling'.

  • Matthew Payne

    On second thought , let's not go to Camelot. 'Tis a silly place.

  • icon

    Michael Gove messed as Education Secretary...Now doing the same as Housing Minister.

    None of the government are fit for purpose,

    Housing Minister role like Harrods revolving door!

    Sunak and his ministers listen to everything Shelter & Generation Rent have to say .... They say Jump the government say, "How High”.

    Regulation & Licensing, Increased Tax burdens, having no control on getting your own property back, as I have repeatedly said in the past has killed the PRS, disappearing Landlords forced to sell up ,....causing low stock levels, increased rents....and a concerning outlook in the near future.

    So many of my landlords have had enough as they have pushed away from the PRS, despite offering excellent rental accommodation.

    Well let Shelter and Generation Rent go and buy up the properties and start offering accommodation themselves instead of Landlord bashing and demanding more and more regulation.... Then they can see for themselves how tough it is to be a landlord!


  • Barry X

    I think I've found the real reason why this bill has been *temporarily* held back for the moment...

    ...very concerningly it seems that the government is trying to sneak in a FURTHER measure to UNDERMINE OUR RIGHTS even more... let me explain...

    There has been quite a lot of interest and talk recently of the so-called "rent-to-rent" schemes. If you haven't come across this before please just Google ‘Rent-to-Rent craze adding to UK’s renting crisis’ which should find you a useful recent article on LandlordZONE about this subject.

    What happens is that "social media influencers" charge punters a lot of money to "teach" them how to "get rich quick" by renting large properties (either in their own name or via shell companies if they can get away with that) then subletting them to a lot of people to effectively create unlicensed HMOs which are obviously potentially very profitable for them because they have absolutely no overheads (such as paying for licences or complying with anything or even doing any maintenance) and they collect an awful lot more rent than they pay!

    Now and then a local authority finds out, for example when some of the subtenants complain to the council about overcrowding and/or a lack of safety or maintenance. Then the local authority goes after their direct landlord, who is of course the tenant who can't be found... and so the council instead tries to go after the actual landlord, i.e. the "superior landlord" or actual property owner (if freehold) or lessee.

    However it has recently quite rightly been found in the High Court that the superior landlord cannot be found liable for the actions - over which s/he has no control and probably also no knowledge - of the tenant who is subletting without consent and probably without the landlord's knowledge.

    The government is trying to find a way to change the law to make the actual landlord/owner responsible and fully liable for the unlawful activities of a tenant who sublets. If that becomes law it will be by far the greatest abuse and betrayal of landlord's rights to date - and something no government, not even labour, would consider inflicting on any other commercial sector...

    ...yes, only we poor old landlords (as usual) could possibly be targeted and successfully snared by something like this... and the government would expect to win votes for it and be widely applauded.

    Imagine, by way of a simple analogy, that the government tried to introduce an almost identical measure for - say - car rental companies. If a penalty is issued for any reason - speeding, parking, driving in a congestion zone without paying etc - but the person actually hiring and driving the car could not be found then not a problem because the car rental company (or whoever actually owns the vehicle they are leasing for their fleet) can be made to pay instead! how simple, how convenient for the authorities! But there isn't a cat's chance in hell of that ever happening and I think you can guess why not....!

    As I say, this sort of abusive law to undermine a fundamental right of a landlord - the right not to be held liable for the unlawful (and potentially criminal) activities of a tenant that the landlord might not even have been aware were happening - would NOT even been considered for anyone else.

    Where will it end? Apart from being prosecuted and fined for not having an HMO licence because a tenant illegally sublet and illegally turned the property into a de-facto HMO, and forced to repay a whole years rent (which was vastly more than collected from the real/actual tenant) to the sub-tenants that the landlord had never had any dealings with and wasn't even aware were living there (or alternatively did know had moved in and had been trying - unsuccessfully for many months - to evict)...

    ...and then just another step further... what about also prosecuting and fining the landlord if a tenant illegally turns the property into a cannabis farm but then runs away and can't be found when its discovered? Or illegally breeds fighting dogs in a garden shed (when the tenancy agreement didn't even allow pets let alone illegal dogs)...

    ...or just another step further down the slope and into the dark from there... how about sending a landlord to prison instead of a tenant who couldn't easily be found by the police after they discovered and proved he'd murdered his wife in (say) the bathroom of the rental property and then run away? Much easier to go after the sitting-duck, i.e. the landlord, and arguably "in the public interest" as it could save so much time and public money instead of catching the real culprit?

    As I say.... where will it end.... apart from any sensible landlord with any sense selling up and getting out?

  • icon

    Barry, Barry, Barry. If they were not thinking of this before, they certainly are now!

    Barry X

    Don't worry FL... I'm not going to give them any suggestions...

    ...they've already been fantasising for years about roasting us alive on spits in front of the hoards of geering and wildly cheering tenants that they gave our properties to who then all go off to the ballot box straight after to celebrate by voting for them!


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