28 April 2024

The Renters Reform Bill: Landlords need to get up to speed

By Rob Stanton, sales and distribution director at Landbay

After much wrangling, the Renters Reform Bill is expected to return to the House of Commons tomorrow (24th April), when MPs will debate just some of the 200 proposed amendments.

Around 50 Conservatives MPs, who included landlords, had raised concerns that the legislation would see more landlords sell up. Now some of the measures in the Bill look set to change.

Of all the Bill’s original proposals, a recommendation to abolish Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions has hogged the most headlines. But an amendment would postpone abolition until the justice secretary publishes an assessment on the readiness of the court system to deal with repossession claims.

One of the Labour shadow housing secretary Matthew Pennycook’s amendments would see Section 21 being abolished when Royal Assent is given.

The National Residential Landlords Association has dubbed the Renters Reform Bill a ‘seismic shake-up of the private rented sector’. 

The Government originally said that the Bill is intended to deliver on the Government’s commitment to bring in a better deal for renters.

Apart from the abolition of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, the Bill also proposed a move to a simpler tenancy structure where all assured tenancies are periodic. The Bill would have allowed tenants to end a tenancy with two months’ notice at any point.

The Bill would also introduce more comprehensive possession grounds so landlords can still recover their property (including where they wish to sell their property or move in close family). These would also make it easier to repossess properties where tenants are at fault, for example in cases of anti-social behaviour and repeat rent arrears.

The Bill also proposed a new Private Rented Sector Ombudsman to ‘provide fair, impartial, and binding resolution to many issues and prove quicker, cheaper, and less adversarial than the court system’.

It proposed the creation of a Privately Rented Property Portal. The portal’s objective would be to help landlords understand their legal obligations and demonstrate compliance (giving good landlords confidence in their position), alongside providing better information to tenants to make informed decisions when entering into a tenancy agreement. It would aim to support local councils - helping them target enforcement activity where it is needed most.

Tenants would have the right to request a pet in the property, which the landlord would have to consider and not unreasonably refuse. To support this, landlords would be able to require pet insurance to cover any damage to their property.


In an amendment likely to be welcomed by landlords, tenants would have to commit to a minimum six-month period when renting a property. The amendment accepts a proposal by the cross-party Housing Select Committee that when fixed term tenancy agreements end, ‘tenants be unable to give two months’ notice to leave until they have been in a property for at least four months’.

In other welcome news, an amendment would allow landlords to take back any type of student housing from student tenants at the end of the academic year. Landlords could then guarantee to prospective students that properties will be available to rent from the start of each academic year.

However, in another of Matthew Pennycook’s amendments, landlords would be required to wait two years from the start of a tenancy before they can sell or move back into their property.

Following the Bill’s proposal for a Privately Rented Property Portal, the Government has now committed to reviewing the need for local authority licensing schemes which otherwise could lead to duplicated property registrations.

What next?

Labour has committed to banning Section 21 eviction notices "immediately" if it wins the election. If the Government gets its way, the abolition of Section 21s may be kicked down the road while the courts system is reviewed. But this won’t be indefinite.

Clearly, rent reforms are a matter of when rather than if.  Landlords will need to get up to speed and get ready for change as the Bill comes down the tracks.

We are conducting a survey with landlords in which we ask them about the Bill’s key measures. It will be intriguing to hear what they know and think.

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