October 24, 2023 9:28 am

Insert Lead Generation
Nikka Sulton

Renters Reform Bill: Second Reading Success. MPs have granted the Renters Reform Bill its Second Reading, advancing it to the Committee Stage for a meticulous line-by-line review, a standard procedure where no vote is typically held.

During the debate, Housing Secretary Michael Gove stressed the importance of finding a balance between the interests of tenants and landlords as the Bill progresses. He also acknowledged existing issues within the Bill related to the student housing market and expressed a commitment to regulating student housing appropriately.

The discussion heavily revolved around the role of the justice system, with many participants highlighting the necessity of ensuring that courts are adequately prepared before the planned abolition of Section 21. This point aligns with the Housing Secretary’s recent communication with the Select Committee on Housing over the weekend.

Nonetheless, he reiterated the government’s dedication to the elimination of Section 21. The primary objective is to prevent landlords with unethical practices from intimidating tenants, particularly those who voice concerns about substandard living conditions and necessary repairs.

In tandem with this commitment, there is a determination to reinforce the provisions under Section 8, making it more effective in cases where possession is legitimately required. This includes lowering the threshold for substantiating anti-social behavior and addressing situations in which unscrupulous tenants exploit these provisions designed to safeguard the vulnerable.

Angela Rayner, the shadow housing secretary, addressed MPs, stating, “The government has betrayed renters with this grubby deal [to delay the abolition of Section 21] with the Tory backbenches. The Conservatives’ long-promised ban on no-fault evictions has majority and cross-party support across the house, but this flip-flop kicks it into the long grass. Having broken the justice system, they are now using their own failure to indefinitely delay keeping their promises to renters in the most underhand way. This comes at a heavy price for renters who have been let down for too long already.”

Concluding the debate, junior shadow housing minister Matthew Pennycook added, “We will work with the government on this Bill but make no mistake we will be pushing to strengthen it to the benefit of private tenants who have been waiting too long for this piece of meaningful legislation.”

Labour has expressed its intention to advocate for measures that extend beyond the existing provisions in the Bill. This includes advocating for an expansion of rent repayment orders, amending possession grounds to safeguard tenants against ‘no-fault’ evictions, and prohibiting blanket bans on landlords accepting tenants with children or those receiving benefits.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, now an independent MP, proposed rent controls and reinforced certain aspects of the Bill, but these proposals were rejected by Michael Gove.



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