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Speculated no-fault eviction walk-back by Government

Speculated no-fault eviction walk-back by Government
Shekina Tuahene
Written By:
Shekina Tuahene
Posted:
28/02/2024
Updated:
29/02/2024

The Government has said it will deliver a “fairer private rented sector (PRS)” following a report suggesting the proposals laid out in the Renters Reform Bill would be softened.

A report from BBC News said draft amendments to the bill had been leaked, with measures to increase protections for landlords in the private rented sector (PRS). 

The article said a draft of the changes had been circulated to a number of Tory MPs who are also landlords.

According to BBC News, amendments include the decision not to introduce a ban on no-fault evictions until the Justice Secretary produces a report on the impact it would have on the courts. 

In response to the article, a spokesperson for the Department of Levelling up Housing and Communities (DLUHC) said: “Our landmark Renters Reform Bill will deliver a fairer PRS for both tenants and landlords. It will abolish section 21 evictions – giving people more security in their homes and empowering them to challenge poor practices.

“We continue to meet regularly with a range of groups, representing all those in the PRS.” 

No-fault eviction uncertainty

Although housing secretary Michael Gove said a ban on section 21 notices, otherwise known as no-fault evictions, would be introduced by the next election, there have been concerns that its removal would lead to an exodus of landlords. 

Shortly after the Renters Reform Bill was announced in 2022, a survey from The Mortgage Works suggested a quarter of landlords would sell up if the ban was brought in. 

Last year, when the bill was going through its second reading, the Government responded to a report by the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee on reforming the PRS by saying no-fault eviction would not be scrapped until the court systems had been improved. 

At the time, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) said bringing the proposal in without court reform would result in landlords leaving the market. 

In response to today’s news, Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, said the association had “long accepted” that the Government had a mandate to end the use of fixed-term tenancies and no-fault evictions. 

He added: “Our focus has been, and continues to be, on developing a replacement system that is fair and workable for tenants and responsible landlords. This need not be a zero-sum game between the two.

“The NRLA has consistently campaigned for the bill to balance the protections promised to tenants and the legitimate business needs of landlords to enable them to continue to provide rented homes.”

Beadle said: “If the Government is considering amendments that would provide for assurances to landlords with a six-month minimum term and ensure confidence for all in the court process, then that balance would be struck. We now need to see these amendments published in full so that all parties can judge for themselves what is on the table and move on with debating the bill in public.

“The lack of progress and uncertainty about the future is destabilising and damaging for those living and working in the PRS.”