Backbench MPs ‘watering down’ Renters Reform Bill

Backbench Tory MPs are set to water down protections for renters and increase rights for landlords, the BBC reports.

It’s unclear exactly what’s being watered down, but it’s though Conservative MPs are concerned that the reforms could cause landlords to sell up, exacerbating the UK’s issue of a lack of rental supply.

The government has previously committed to banning Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, a promise that’s now five years old.

The UK’s broken court system is badly in need of reform, to make Section 8 evictions – where you have to provide a reason to evict a tenant – a viable alternative to Section 21.

Anthony Kyriacou, the founder & chief executive of krispyhouse, said: “For the government, landlords, agents, and tenants the priority should be a private rental market that functions well for all.

“The last thing we need is more landlords selling up ahead of the Bill coming into force because they are worried about the courts’ ability to enforce the new eviction rules.

“Buy-to-let private landlords have already started selling up, reducing the supply of stock. But obviously tenants’ right to more stability and certainty with regard to renting properties is vital too. What is a shame is that this fresh round of amendments has been tabled so late that they cast doubt over the Bill itself and the motives of those proposing them.

“The Bill should have been properly thought through much earlier; then both renters and landlords would have the certainty they both need and the market could adjust to serve the interests of all parties.”

The National Residential Landlords Association also responded to the BBC report.

Ben Beadle, it’s chief executive, said: “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.”

Oli Sherlock, managing director of insurance, Goodlord, agreed that this uncertainty is bad for the sector.

He said: “The latest chapter in the Renters (Reform) Bill saga is doing nothing more than creating further uncertainty in the private rented sector.

“The question of abolishing Section 21 has been in a state of limbo for too long. We were told months ago that the courts need to be reformed before Section 21 passes, but there’s been little sign of investment or progress in this area.

“How much longer will letting agents and landlords be calling for clarity? Meaningful preparation and planning can’t happen without it.”