Renters’ Reform Bill delayed after lobbying by Tory backbenchers

The government’s Renters’ Reform Bill has been pushed back due to “procedural issues”, the Mirror reports.

Last week housing secretary Michael Gove indicated that it would be published this week after the King’s coronation, but a government spokesman since said it will be brought forward “very shortly”.

While it’s unclear whether the delay will be a short one, i reported that: “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.”

Former Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to unveil the Bill back in 2019, which has grabbed headlines in the landlord press by pledging to get rid of Section 21 “no fault” evictions.

That’s not all that’s set to be in the Bill however, which promised to strengthen Section 8 eviction powers, introduce a property portal, require privately rented properties to meet the Decent Homes Standard, as well as establish a new ombudsman to deal with issues around private landlords.

Labour shadow housing secretary Lisa Nandy responded to this latest delay by promoting Labour’s policy to bolster tenant rights if they get elected.

She said: “Our message to the government is clear, do not backtrack on the promises you have made, do not drop any commitments, do not roll over to your backbenchers again.

“We will tilt the balance of power with powerful new rights and protections for tenants, including longer notice periods, a ban on no-fault evictions and the right to make changes to your home.”

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities spokesman said: “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.”

London Assembly Labour’s housing spokesperson, Sem Moema AM, said: “In the wake of the mini-budget’s disastrous impact on mortgages, Londoners are paying for the government’s failure to deal with the housing crisis.

“With rents increasing by 15% in London last year, ministers are failing renters by delaying the Renters Reform Bill yet again.

“More than four years after the government pledged to abolish no fault evictions, 10,000 Londoners have been threatened with eviction under section 21. Thousands more have been made homeless and are now on council waiting lists because of it.

“I’m calling on ministers to end section 21, no fault, evictions and devolve powers to the Mayor of London to freeze and control private rents.”