Landlords leaving market due to delays to Renters Reform Bill, expert warns

The time being taken to review legislation which could overhaul the private rented sector is creating anxiety and uncertainty among landlords and further triggering some to leave the market, an expert at a leading property consultancy has warned.

The Government’s white paper ‘A Fairer Rented Private Sector’ aims to reform the rules around the rental sector in the UK and improve the balance between tenants’ and landlords’ rights and responsibilities.

The white paper includes a commitment to replace Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions for tenants, the adoption of a ‘Decent Homes Standard’ and the establishment of a new Ombudsman to settle disputes.

But the associated legislation – known as the Renters’ Reform Bill – has still not entered Parliament, meaning the details of the reforms are still unknown.

Although the former Housing Minister Simon Clarke recently assured Parliament the Bill would be introduced in the next parliamentary session – in practice this means any time before spring 2024.

Joanne Millward, Divisional Lettings Coordinator at Fisher German, has said this uncertainty is making some landlords nervous, with many who were considering their future as residential landlords to leave the market entirely.

She works with landlords all over the country and is urging the government to press ahead with putting the Bill through Parliament. Although the proposed reforms will not be entirely helpful to landlords, the uncertainty in the meantime is causing much harm.

Joanne said: “The industry is essentially stuck in limbo until we know the details of what will appear in the legislation.

“While the white paper improves rights for tenants, some of the proposals in it will make becoming a landlord more difficult and will give current landlords more problems to deal with.

“Many landlords are taking things into their own hands as a result and it is yet another reason for many to sell up, reducing rental stock across the country.

“The supply of rental housing is already under strain in the UK, and this delay is only making it worse by discouraging landlords to keep going.

“Although Simon Clarke’s comments were welcome, we need action sooner rather than later to address this issue.