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Gove hits back at critics after Renters Reform Bill wins key vote

Michael Gove’s Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities hit back overnight at critics of the government’s Renters Reform Bill.

The Bill - in heavily amended form - was passed in the Commons yesterday evening. It retains the scrapping of Section 21 powers but now includes an indefinite timetable: the abolition won’t happen until a review has taken place of the courts system’s ability to cope with evictions through other means.

In addition there will now be a review of local council licensing schemes to ensure they do not overlap with the Bill’s proposed portal; and there will be a six month period for each tenancy before a renter can end the tenancy.


The Bill’s original measures - to introduce a decent home standard, establish a new ombudsman and provide protections for families in receipt of benefits from discrimination - continue in the amended version that now goes to the House of Lords.

But overnight an unusual statement from Gove’s department came out, specifying coverage in the Sun, Guardian, the DailyTelegraph and the BBC.

The statement says: “Some coverage today has inaccurately suggested we are watering down our commitments on abolishing section 21 notices – or no-fault evictions. Abolishing section 21 notices is a manifesto commitment and we have been very clear that we will end these no-fault evictions as soon as possible.

“We have always said that we will give six months’ notice before ending section 21 tenancies to give the sector some time to implement these changes. And we have now today committed to making sure the county court system time had to adjust to the new possession processes, with an assessment of the county courts to ensure they are ready for these changes.”

The statement went on to say that the Bill delivers the biggest changes to the rental sector in 30 years and will:

- stop landlords having blanket bans on renting to those with children or who are on benefits;

- apply and enforce the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector for the first time, so that everyone has a safe and decent home;

- for the first time give tenants a legal right to ask to have their much-loved pets in their home;

- give landlords strengthened grounds for possession if a tenant is in rent arrears or they want to sell their property – and the statement on this subject says “we are investing in the county courts so that landlords can benefit from a modern, efficient possession system”;

- mean landlords are able to act more quickly to evict tenants who make others’ lives miserable through anti-social behaviour; and

- help resolve disputes between landlords and tenants more quickly, with a new Private Rented Sector Landlord Ombudsman.

A DLUHC spokesperson says: "Our commitment to scrap section 21 no-fault evictions as soon as possible is unchanged. We have always said we will give six months notice before ending section 21 for all new tenancies. In addition, we have committed to ensuring improvements in the courts service are rapidly implemented before extending this abolition to all existing tenancies.”

  • Fed Up Landlord

    The name has been changed to NRARB- The No Rentals Available Reform Bill- because that's going to be the result of it.


    I prefer the name "The rental ruination bill" someone else invented that very apt name so every credit to them.

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    Labour will end Section 21 immediately.

    Matthew Pennycook said yesterday (and you can read and hear him on Twitter) that:

    "It's now over five years since the Tories promised to scrap Section 21 no-fault evictions.

    Private tenants will wait for years more if the government waters down its Renters Reform Bill today.

    Labour will end Section 21 evictions immediately - no ifs, no buts."

    I assume from that that they will have an eviction ban on taking office and then modify the legislation.

    So there is still a complete legal mess and total lack of clarity surrounding the validity of existing and future tenancy agreements, and therefore how can landlords have the confidence to let anything!


    Labour have said that they will implement an awful lot of their ideas "immediately" they take power - of course that is overly hopeful. Section 21 will be well down their list of priorities.


    We'll see. I think ending Section 21 is a high priority for them.

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    The reform of the Courts system is the catalyst to the whole Bill. Currently, the Court service is underfunded due to the Treasury tightening the reigns in recent years and its under resourced as a result. The devil is in the detail, in so far as that there needs to be a recruitment drive to take on and train legal personell, which is not going to happen the day after tomorrow. Furthermore, there needs to be a pilot scheme to see how this new legislation will work in practice. The Renters Reform Bill is a highly politicised concept, and unless Government gets its act together in supporting Investors to expand their portfolios and make homes more energy efficient, the range and quality of homes will simply not be there. In essence this will be nothing but a hollow victory for Tenants. As for "a fairer private rented sector" , that remains to be seen,

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    Funny how illegal immigrants who have not paid a penny into the countries coffers have access to unlimited legal aid funds for numerous appeals but there is no time or money for repossession court hearings. Welcome to the twisted world we live in

  • Kristjan Byfield

    For so much change, very little will actually change. Tenancy cycles/durations will remain similar to now, the DHS willl change nothing as (like all other PRS regulation/legislation) there is no funding to proactively enforce it, the portal will ensure Gov get more tax revenue (identify more landlords), the ombudsman for private landlords will bring parity (and is another rason for landlords to swicth to an agent), if/when S21 goes court waiting times WILL increase (but those far more inforemed than I belioeve this wont be as bad as many, including me, believe).
    Scary when first announced, this will be the biggest little change many of us have ever seen.


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