‘The next government must treat renters’ rights as a priority’


In their 2019 election manifesto, the Conservatives promised to ban Section 21 evictions.

But passing a bill to implement that pledge has proved problematic, with several of the government’s own backbenchers demanding greater protections for landlords.

Despite hoping for changes, Labour sources had indicated the party would have let the bill go through as part of the wash-up period on Friday, but a government source suggested amendments from crossbench, or independent, peers in the House of Lords meant there was not enough time to pass the legislation.

It has been widely suggested that Labour could reintroduce the bill, if it wins the election.

The Law Society of England and Wales president Nick Emmerson said: “We have been increasingly frustrated by the delays in banning ‘no-fault’ evictions and we are disappointed in the decision to drop the Renters Reform Bill entirely during the wash-up.

“A ban on ‘no-fault’ evictions was a critical step in strengthening renters’ rights. The constant delays, obstruction and now complete abandonment of the Renters Reform Bill shows us that reforming the rental market has not been taken seriously.

“With the cost-of-living crisis and high interest rates, many renters are struggling to pay rent. The next government must treat renters’ rights as a priority.”

Osbornes Law believes that more needs to be done to ensure that rental reforms works for all parties; landlords and tenants.

Shilpa Mathuradas, head of housing litigation at Osbornes Law, commented: “The much talked about Renters Reform Bill will have to await its fate until after the general election. The Bill which intends to ban “no fault evictions and empower renters to challenge landlords without fear of losing their homes had already experienced delays from when it was first proposed in May 2023 when the government realised that significant reform to the court system would be necessary before section 21 could be abolished.

“The reality is that the court system is in complete disarray and landlords are waiting over six months in some cases for eviction after possession has been ordered.  The idea therefore that the court system required reform, i.e complete digitisation of court records and a huge increase in bailiff recruitment, had already pointed to renters having to wait years before this Bill was passed. The courts are far from being ready and would require significant funding to be ready. The Bill was also said to be significantly watered down by back bench Conservative MPs controversially many of whom being landlords.

“Whilst it is renters are disappointed that the Bill would not be passed before Parliament shut down there had already been an suggestion that the passing of this Bill would be delayed despite the fact that Michael Gove committed to ending “no fault” before the general election.”

Yet further delays to the rental reform bill as a result of the general election will come as a bitter blow to tenants and landlords alike, according to Sam Reynolds, CEO of Zero Deposit.

He commented: “[They] have been patiently waiting for the improvements proposed to provide a greater degree of tenancy security.

“However, the real loss to the rental sector is the potential for longer fixed-term tenancies, a change that would bring real benefit, security and peace of mind to both landlords and tenants.

“Whoever does gain power in July will now likely have to start from scratch and given the time it’s already taken, it’s unlikely we will see any major rental reforms for quite some time. The time and expense taken to date is eye watering, not to mention investment and effort from within our sector to positively engage and shape the income.”

Daily news email from EYE

Enter your email below to receive the latest news each morning direct to your inbox.