By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


Labour has waded into the increasingly-fractious debate over the Renters Reform Bill.

Activists in groups such as the Renters Reform Coalition and Generation Rent maintain that the process of reaching a compromise between different amendments suggested to the Bill so far, actually constitute a watering down of measures. Meanwhile industry bodies such as the National Residential Landlords Association say the amendments are merely an attempt to produce balanced legislation workable for landlords as well as tenants.

But Labour has seized on the growing row, with shadow housing minister Matthew Pennycook taking to social media. He’s tweeted: “If this Tory government waters down the Renters Reform Bill in any way, it would be a complete betrayal of private tenants in need of greater security and better rights. Michael Gove needs to make clear that he will face down, not cave in, to the demands of his backbenchers.”


The BBC reports that amendments have been circulated to MPs who want changes to gauge their views ahead of the Bill going tonics next stage - the Third Reading in the Commons. One of those MPs told the BBC: "Agreement seems to have been reached on nearly all points."

This includes enshrining in the Bill that the abolition of Section 21 will take place, but only after improvements have been made to court processes - something which Housing Secretary Michael Gove had announced some months ago. 

There are also suggestions that the amendments include reducing the burden of evidence when landlords seek to evict anti-social tenants; ending selective licensing schemes from councils when a national register proposed in the Bill serves the same purpose; requiring tenants to commit to at least four months in a property before giving notice; and protecting student HMO landlords from periodic tenancies deemed inappropriate for tenants at college.

Commenting on BBC reports, NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle says: “We have long accepted that the government has a mandate to end the use of fixed term tenancies and no-fault repossessions. Our focus has, and continues to be, on developing a replacement system that is fair and workable for tenants and responsible landlords. This need not be a zero-sum game between the two.

“The NRLA has consistently campaigned for the Bill to balance the protections promised to tenants and the legitimate business needs of landlords to enable them to continue to provide rented homes.

“If the government is considering amendments that would provide for assurances to landlords with a six-month minimum term and ensure confidence for all in the court process, then that balance would be struck. 

“We now need to see these amendments published in full so that all parties can judge for themselves what is on the table and move on with debating the Bill in public. The lack of progress and uncertainty about the future is destabilising and damaging for those living and working in the private-rented sector.”

In its report on the private rented sector last year, the cross-party Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee said: “The abolition of fixed-term tenancies, combined with the abolition of section 21, would undoubtedly give tenants greater security of tenure. 

“We understand the argument that fixed-term tenancies should remain available where both parties want them, but in practice, given the current shortage of private rental properties, this would likely result in tenants having fixed terms forced on them. A reasonable balance needs to be struck between security of tenure for tenants and a degree of certainty for landlords. 

“We therefore recommend that tenants be unable to give two months’ notice to leave until they have been in a property for at least four months. This will give landlords the legal certainty of at least six months’ rent at the start of a tenancy.”

However, activist group Generation Rent is angry over what it sees as “watering down” of some measures. 

Ben Twomey, chief executive of Generation Rent, says: "It is unacceptable for tenants to be treated as an afterthought around reforms which we were told would help us. We will not stand by while the new law to protect and empower renters is transformed into a Landlord’s Bill of Rights. If the government really is going to water down the Bill even further, England's 12 million private renters deserve to know why. 

"In particular, weakening licensing schemes could compromise the safety of renters. These schemes give councils some of the strongest powers to tackle criminal landlords and sub-standard, dangerous homes. The plan to trap tenants in properties for six months, making it much more difficult for them to leave sub-standard or mis-sold homes, is another measure that undermines tenant welfare. The call to delay court run a judicial review into court reform means that the key promise first made five years ago by the government to renters - respite from the misery of Section 21 no-fault evictions - will be kicked firmly into the long grass.

“The ability of landlords to evict us without needing a reason means there is no trust between landlords and tenants from the very start. Abolishing Section 21 is an essential step to improve landlord-tenant relations and allow all parties to deal with each other in good faith.

"Another round of government giveaways to the landlord lobby will water down this landmark piece of legislation and is another step away from their promise to ‘rebalance’ the power dynamic between tenants and landlords. We have waited a very long time for this Bill, but it must genuinely offer to improve renters' lives if it is to be worth the paper it's written on."

A statement from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities says: "Our landmark Renters Reform Bill will deliver a fairer private rented sector for both tenants and landlords. It will abolish section 21 evictions - giving people more security in their homes and empowering them to challenge poor practices. We continue to meet regularly with a range of groups, representing all those in the private rented sector."

  • icon

    ''Commenting on BBC reports, NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle says: “We have long accepted that the government has a mandate to end the use of fixed term tenancies and no-fault repossessions.''

    How very, very disappointing to see Ben Beadle use the term 'no-fault'. IMHO he of all people should avoid this phrase.


    When did this government have a mandate and when did landlords ACCEPT that fixed term tenancies and Section 21 had to be abolished? 😡

    There will be one less NRLA member when I am asked to renew that to bungling Beadle. 🤬

  • icon

    Must be an election coming.

  • Stephen Chipp

    Will say until I am blue in the face - there is adequate legislation currently in place to protect both sides. Its a lack of the use of it that causes issues.


    And the lack of support from the Court system which causes unreasonable delays in helping a Landlord get THEIR PROPERTY back. When a Landlord has served notice (S21 or S8) that the contract is being terminated on X date, if the Tenant does not leave (or agree an extension) they therefore are illegally occupying the property and are squatting. I feel for tenants who genuinely have been trying to find property and are struggling to do so, contrary to popular belief I'm not actually a cold-hearted, callous 'female dog', but the legal owner wants possession of their property back for a reason and they should be legally entitled to help to do so. Local authorities telling tenants not to leave and wait for a possession warrant are making the situation worse...


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up