Blog: Renters' Reform and the Queen's Speech - what's next for landlords?
What does the recent Queen‚Äôs Speech mean for the Renters‚Äô Reform Bill? What will the¬†upcoming¬†white paper contain? Can we expect the¬†Bill this year? These are just some of the questions coming in from members, following the Queen‚Äôs Speech and debates over the past week or so. Here Campaigns Officer Alexandra Williams takes a deep dive into what we can expect.¬†¬†
What was announced in the Queen‚Äôs Speech?¬†
In the Queen‚Äôs Speech earlier this month, the Government committed to publishing its response to its 2019 consultation on the removal of Section 21, outlining the proposals for a new ‚Äėlifetime‚Äô tenancy deposit model and publishing a white paper outlining¬†its¬†proposals¬†for reform of the private rented sector¬†- all of which we can expect this year.¬†
However,¬†there was no specific date given for when the¬†Renters‚Äô Reform¬†Bill will be brought forward. It was originally announced that the Bill would be¬†introduced¬†and Section 21 evictions abolished in the 2019 Queen‚Äôs Speech.¬†¬†
Did we learn any more in the Queen‚Äôs Speech debates?¬†
This week we‚Äôve had debates in Parliament about the¬†Government‚Äôs plans for housing, including the¬†Renters‚Äô Reform Bill.¬†While¬†much of it¬†repeated comments¬†we‚Äôve heard¬†from Ministers in the past,¬†the¬†Housing Secretary¬†Robert¬†Jenrick¬†MP,¬†did¬†personally¬†reaffirm some previous commitments.¬†¬†
He said that¬†the Government¬†will set¬†out¬†proposals for a new lifetime deposit model, to make it easier for tenants moving from one tenancy to the next. He also said¬†the¬†Government is committed to raising standards, for example by ensuring that all tenants have a right to¬†redress¬†and that well-targeted, effective enforcement drives out poor and criminal landlords.¬†
Multiple opposition¬†MPs¬†criticised the Government for the taking so long to bring the Bill forward and¬†raised concerns¬†that the Bill has been kicked into the long grass¬†once again.
Clive Betts MP¬†‚Äď the Chair of the Housing, Community and Local Government Committee -¬†expressed disappointment that on renters‚Äô reform the Government pledged only to publish a white paper rather than a Bill, saying¬†‚Äúif it is about technicalities, why not at least produce a draft Bill for us to have a look at in this Session of Parliament?‚ÄĚ.¬†¬†
What can we expect in the white paper?¬†
White papers are policy documents produced by the Government that set out their proposals for future legislation. After this stage, the¬†legislation will be brought forward to reform the private rented sector.¬†
This white paper is expected to detail the reform package, including¬†requirements for all private landlords to belong to a redress scheme, potential reforms for the private renter sector enforcement system and explore improvements to the possession process in the courts.¬†
Lord Greenhalgh, the¬†Housing, Communities and Local Government¬†Minister in the Lords, said in a debate¬†this week that the white paper will also include more detail on how¬†reforms to¬†tenancy law to abolish Section 21¬†(so-called ‚Äėno-fault‚Äô¬†evictions)¬†and measures to improve security for tenants in the private rented sector.¬†¬†
When can we expect to see the Bill?¬†
As the¬†White¬†Paper is expected this¬†autumn, and given there will be extensive stakeholder engagement to inform and shape these reforms, it‚Äôs¬†unlikely¬†we‚Äôll¬†¬†see¬†the actual Bill¬†before¬†2022.¬†
Will the NRLA proposals make it to the Bill?¬†
The NRLA launched its¬†Renters‚Äô Reform Bill¬†proposals last year, following consultation with members and those across the sector. Our proposals call for clear and comprehensive grounds for possession, court reform and a lifetime deposit system.¬†¬†
The proposals have been sent to the Government and well received across the sector. They strike a balance between a fair deal for landlords and reforming the sector so it works for both landlords and tenants.¬†¬†
We‚Äôre confident our proposals include what the Government has set out to achieve in the Renters‚Äô Reform Bill, however, we‚Äôre a long way from the Bill being brought¬†forward.
What we can be sure of, is that as the white paper and Bill develop the NRLA will continue to campaign to shape the planned reforms¬†and lobby the Government to get a fair deal for both landlords and tenants.¬†
If you would like to engage with us further on our proposals and want to share your feedback on our proposals you can via¬†our¬†campaign page.¬†¬†¬†
Keep an eye out for more¬†articles¬†spotlighting different parts of the Renters‚Äô Reform Bill and the NRLA proposals over the coming months.¬†