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Renters Reform Bill passes third reading with no-fault eviction delay

Renters Reform Bill passes third reading with no-fault eviction delay
Shekina Tuahene
Written By:
Shekina Tuahene

The Renters Reform Bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons yesterday and will proceed to the House of Lords for consideration.

MPs voted to include the clause that Section 21 evictions would not be abolished until the Lord Chancellor published a report on the readiness of the court system. 

The Government originally said Section 21 evictions, also known as no-fault evictions, would be scrapped in its 2019 manifesto. This was then proposed in a whitepaper that was published before the bill was formally introduced, and later included in the first version of the bill. 

Changes to the bill, including a delay in the abolishment of Section 21 evictions, were announced at the end of March. 

During the debate in the House of Commons, Green party MP Caroline Lucas said “significant numbers” of Conservative MPs who were also landlords had been “gifted what amounts to an indefinite delay to the ban on no-fault evictions”. 

Political activist group 38 Degrees published research that showed 93 MPs made money as landlords of England, with 72 Conservative MPs declaring incomes of more than £10,000 in the year to April – accounting for a fifth of the party. 

Overall, 173 MPs declared a property portfolio worth £100,000 or more in April. MPs only need to declare rental incomes of £10,000 or more.

Jacob Young MP, who is responsible for the Renters Reform Bill, said there needed to be a balance. 

He said: “A system that does not work for landlords will not benefit tenants, and a system that does not benefit tenants will not benefit landlords in the long run either.” 

Young also said the Government was looking to see if serious eviction cases, such as those for antisocial behaviour, could be prioritised by the courts. 

Young said the bill posed the “biggest change to the [rental] sector in more than 30 years”, adding: “This bill is an opportunity for us to improve the life chances of millions of private renters across the country, and I hope that we have also given reassurance to the millions of good landlords who endeavour to provide homes for those who rely on the private rented sector.” 

Challenging rent increases 

Discussing an amendment allowing a tribunal to determine a rent increase, Lucas said this was “wholly inadequate”. 

She said it went back on the pledge made in the white paper that stated that the Government would prevent a tribunal from increasing the rent by more than what the landlord initially asked for. 

Lucas said this would give the tribunal the power to propose a higher rent than the one a tenant was appealing against. 

Young responded: “Large rent increases should not be used as a back-door method of eviction, but it is crucial that landlords are able to increase rents in line with market levels to maintain investor confidence.

“We have listened to concerns, and we think it fair that the tribunal is not limited when determining that market rent.”