Just as many landlords and their advisors were starting to get their heads around the various potential upcoming changes to the Private Rented Sector, reports suggest that the Renters (Reform) Bill (the “Bill”) will be delayed – again.

The Government had hoped that the Bill would become law during the course of this year, but this seems increasingly unlikely given that Penny Mordaunt, leader of the House of Commons, did not include the second reading of the Bill in her announcement of parliamentary business for the remainder of the current parliamentary session.

The Bill was announced in the 2019 Conservative manifesto and first introduced to Parliament on 17 May 2023 with the stated aim of creating “safer, fairer and higher quality homes” for renters in England.  Reports suggest that Michael Gove remains hopeful that the Bill will have its second reading before the next parliamentary session begins on 7 November 2023 – we will watch this space to see whether this comes to fruition.

Currently, residential landlords can terminate Assured Shorthold Tenancies (“ASTs”) without requiring a reason or any “fault” on the part of the tenant.  The Bill proposes – amongst other things – to abolish ASTs and the “no fault” notices currently available to landlords under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. This means, once the Bill becomes law, most new tenancies within the Private Rented Sector will be assured tenancies with no fixed term, and landlords will need to rely on and prove one of the remaining existing or new proposed “grounds” for possession in order to evict tenants.

There is speculation that this further delay could be, in part, down to a significant portion of Conservative MPs and government officials owning rental property and being landlords themselves. 

Notwithstanding the Bill being put on ice once again, significant change to the Private Rented Sector is seemingly inevitable.  With that in mind, we are tracking the developments on our Essential Residential hub and our timeline: Evolution of the private rented sector.