Renters Reform Bill – Update following the General Election

Following the dissolution of Parliament on the 30 May 2024, the Renters Reform Bill has an uncertain future. The Bill had reached the second reading in the House of Lords but, any bills which do not receive royal ascent prior to dissolution and are not carried over, are either reintroduced from scratch or simply abandoned. This means that the future of this bill hangs in the balance and will depend on Labour’s intentions towards these issues.

What was the new bill going to introduce?

The bill if passed would have introduced:

  1. Abolishing no fault evictions (s21 notices)
  2. Introduction of a new property database which proves compliance of legal requirements for landlords.
  3. Introduction of rights for tenants with pets.

Above are only a few examples of what the act would have introduced, but the main change would have been to the section 21 process.

Section 21 process

The current law in the England and Wales means that a landlord can evict a tenant without blame or fault. This is referred to as repossession using section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. A landlord must serve a section 21 notice at most 2 months before the end date of the tenancy, or alternatively at any point after the tenancy has ended, and ensure that they comply with the procedure to gain repossession of their property.

If a tenant subsequently does not leave the property, the landlord can commence possession proceedings against them. It is worth noting that this process is very strict and must be followed to the letter or landlords risk a judge striking out their application. Even if a claim is successful, the amount of time that it takes to obtain the possession order and then enforce it by using bailiffs can mean that this “simple” process can take months.

New Government

It will be interesting to see if Kier Starmer’s Labour government will bring this legislation back into the limelight and attempt to push it through parliament. Many people are beginning to question what Labour’s vision for the future of the private rented sector will look like.

Labour’s manifesto for the election included a pledge to abolish section 21 and it will be interesting to see if this pledge materialises into anything.

If you are a landlord and require any guidance on the section 21 process or have any other queries regarding the eviction process of your tenants, please feel free to contact us to speak to a member of our dispute resolution team.

Bethany Fitzgerald
Solicitor, Dispute Resolution
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This reflects the law and market position at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought in relation to a specific matter.

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