Housing

The Renters Reform Bill will finally be introduced to parliament today

The government’s long-awaited rent reforms begin journey into law today more than four years after Tories first promised to axe no-fault evictions

To Let signs fill a wall in King's Cross, London.

To Let signs fill a wall in King's Cross, London. Renters may be getting new powers through the long awaited Renters Reform Bill.

The Renters Reform Bill will begin its journey through parliament on Wednesday – more than four years after the Conservatives promised to axe no-fault evictions to protect tenants.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove will introduce the long-awaited legislation, which the government is describing as a “once in a generation overhaul of housing laws”, to parliament.

Gove said: “Too many renters are living in damp, unsafe, cold homes, powerless to put things right, and with the threat of sudden eviction hanging over them.

“This government is determined to tackle these injustices by offering a new deal to those living in the private rented sector; one with quality, affordability, and fairness at its heart.”

The headline change in the rent reforms is the removal of no-fault evictions, also known as Section 21 evictions. Considered a leading driver of homelessness, no-fault evictions allow landlords to evict tenants without giving a reason.

Theresa May first promised to axe no-fault evictions back when prime minister back in April 2019 but it took until June last year for the Tories to lay out a white paper setting out how they would be scrapped. Almost a year later the legislation is being introduced to parliament.

Lord Bird, founder of the Big Issue and crossbench peer, said: “The Renters Reform Bill is the biggest shake-up of the Private Rented Sector in a generation. And although not perfect, I am particularly pleased to see that abolishing the Section 21 no-fault evictions is in there.

“We must pass this Bill sooner rather than later because with every delay comes with it more people becoming evicted from their homes.”

The proposed legislation also includes a legal right for tenants to request a pet in their home. Landlords must consider the request and “cannot unreasonably refuse”.

Michael Webb, head of policy and public affairs, Battersea Cats & Dogs Home, said: “Not only will this bill bring us one step closer to significantly reducing the number of dogs and cats we see being needlessly separated from their owners, it will also open up the many joys of pet ownership to millions of renters in the future.”

Owen Sharp, chief executive of Dogs Trust, called the bill a “potential game-changer for dog owners”.

Landlords will be unable to have blanket bans on renting to tenants in receipt of benefits or with children under the reforms. 

The bill will also aim to improve the quality of rental homes by introducing a “decent home standard”, which the government promised will deliver on its levelling up promise to halve the number of non-decent rented homes by 2030.

Councils will also be given greater powers to tackle rogue landlords and a new ombudsman will be set up to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. A property portal will be set up for landlords and tenants to understand their rights.

The government also promised a reformed courts process with cases set to be digitised to reduce delays.

Your support changes lives. Find out how you can help us help more people by signing up for a subscription

Renters must now wait for the legislation to go through parliament before it comes into force. The bill has 18 months to make it into law before the next general election.

Gove added: “Our new laws introduced to parliament today will support the vast majority of responsible landlords who provide quality homes to their tenants, while delivering our manifesto commitment to abolish Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions.  

“This will ensure that everyone can live somewhere which is decent, safe and secure – a place they’re truly proud to call home.”

Campaigners in the Renters Reform Coalition – including Shelter, Generation Rent and tenants union Acorn – have been calling on the government to bring forward the legislation for years.

Article continues below

Current vacancies...

Search jobs

The group held a Renters’ Day of Action in March to protest against delays to the bill.

Dan Wilson Craw, Generation Rent’s acting director, said: “The Renters Reform Bill is a huge opportunity to improve the lives of the 11 million people who now rent from private landlords in England. 

“We look forward to reading the bill and working with ministers and parliamentarians to make sure the legislation achieves what it sets out to do.”

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said the bill must “truly deliver change for renters” and have the “teeth needed for real change.”

Get the latest news and insight into how the Big Issue magazine is made by signing up for the Inside Big Issue newsletter

While the Renters Reform Bill is intended to give tenants greater power, the legislation will also allow landlords to reclaim properties to sell their property, move in a close family member or evict a tenant who does not pay rent.

Tenants who breach their tenancy agreement or cause damage to the property where they live will see eviction notice periods reduced.

The measures were welcomed by Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association. He said: “The NRLA will continue to work with the government to ensure the detail of the bill is fair for responsible landlords and tenants alike.”

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said the bill must “truly deliver change for renters” and have the “teeth needed for real change.”

Do you have a story to tell or opinions to share about this? We want to hear from you. Get in touch and tell us more.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Over 90,000 households threatened with no-fault evictions since Tories promised to ban them
Renters angry at no-fault evictions, Renters Reform Bill delay and a lack of rent controls
RENTING

Over 90,000 households threatened with no-fault evictions since Tories promised to ban them

Starmer warned over glaring omission in Labour's six general election pledges: 'I'm disappointed'
Housing crisis

Starmer warned over glaring omission in Labour's six general election pledges: 'I'm disappointed'

Scottish government is declaring a national housing emergency – but what does it actually mean?
Scottish first minister John Swinney
Housing

Scottish government is declaring a national housing emergency – but what does it actually mean?

Home Office drops plan to arrest homeless people if they smell
Homelessness

Home Office drops plan to arrest homeless people if they smell

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know