Renters reform bill is here but will it really solve home insecurity?
The government has finally published its long-promised Renters Reform Bill*. It promises to do away with ‘no fault’ evictions and help solve home insecurity.
Having long campaigned for change, when ministers set out their plans a year ago we welcomed the new policy. In Epsom & Ewell some 16% of homes are privately rented, but the sector provides a higher proportion of CAEE housing client problems.
This year rental markets have become even more difficult so actual publication is important.
Unfortunately however there are already doubts about what it will achieve in practice.
New Citizens Advice research** identifies 3 loopholes that could undermine its aims:
- New “no fault” grounds that allow landlords to evict tenants if they want to sell the property or move family in, without requiring them to provide any evidence
- Landlord’s being able to evict tenants using the new “no fault” grounds after just 6 months in into the tenancy
- Unreasonable in-tenancy rent increases forcing tenants to move out.
In April we noted that problems were facing all sides of the housing market. We included private landlords who were “often seen as ‘market villains’, but (were) genuinely finding it tough and withdrawing property”.
Our worry now is that in trying for good reasons to reassure landlords the government may be making concessions that dilute the bill’s purpose.
The government should introduce strong protections and incentives to stop abuse of the reforms once n place.
Otherwise, it will break its promise to protect renters from unfair evictions and the kind of insecurity that spoils the lives of many private tenants.
* The Renters (Reform) Bill will deliver on the government’s commitment to “bring in a better deal for renters”, including abolishing ‘no fault’ evictions and reforming landlord possession grounds. It will legislate for reforms set out in the private rented sector white paper published in June 2022.
** An end to unfair evictions?, Citizens Advice, June 2023