Buy to Let

Is the Renters Reform Bill on the 'brink of collapse'?

Is the Renters Reform Bill on the 'brink of collapse'?
Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

According to national newspaper reports, the manifesto pledge to protect renters by ending no-fault evictions may end up broken.

Reports in The Sun said that the Bill was “on the brink of collapse”, despite the Government recently promising to pass it before the next general election.

However, backbench Tory MPs – some of whom are landlords themselves – have been critical of the legislation, which makes it harder for landlords to get tenants out of properties. This is despite the fact that landlord groups as well as tenant associations support passing the bill.

Millions of renters would be protected by the reforms, including the banning of Section 21 notices and fixed-term rental tenancies, the creation of a privately rented property portal and the introduction of a new Ombudsman for the private rented sector (PRS).

But reports in The Sun are that a small group of landlord MPs are “holding the bill to ransom”, meaning time could run out to pass it through the Commons.

Mixed reaction

Ben Twomey, chief executive of Generation Rent, said: “If the Renters Reform Bill were to collapse as this report suggests, it would be the biggest betrayal of renters in a generation and nothing short of a disgrace.

“Ending Section 21 no-fault evictions has been promised for almost five years, and the prospect that the Government might abandon its word to 12 million renters because of party infighting is shameful.

“The Government must bring forward this bill, and it must stand firm to make sure it is worth the paper it is written on. Renters are tired of being a football used for political point-scoring. We deserve so much better than this, and will certainly remember if tenants’ rights are denied by the collapse of this bill.”

But Kristian Niemietz, editorial director at the Institute of Economic Affairs, disagreed. He said: “The Renters Reform Bill cannot be sensibly tweaked or amended. The best outcome would be if it were killed off entirely.

“The bill’s flagship policy, the ban on so-called ‘no-fault evictions’, really amounts to a ban on fixed-term tenancy contracts. It means that a landlord may be stuck with a tenant for the rest of their life.

“This would discourage people with underused properties from becoming landlords in the first place, and it would make the remaining landlords pickier and choosier. It will bureaucratise the rental market, while shrinking its overall size.”

Related: Tenants face a ‘winter of evictions’ as rents rocket and bills bite