You probably already know that the Queen’s Speech in 2022 committed to a Renters’ Reform Bill being passed in 2022-23. The bill was delayed due to disruptions caused by changes of government. The Renters’ Reform Bill finally arrived in the House of Commons in May 2023 after the King’s Coronation. Currently, the Renters’ Reform Bill is ‘Second Reading’ stage.
When will the Renters Reform Bill become law?
While no official date has been confirmed by the government, we estimate that the Renters Reform Bill will come into law on 1st October 2024. Once it becomes law, it will initially only affect new tenancies. Pre-existing tenancies will be included 12 months later.
How we have predicted the date the Renters Reform Bill will become law
The rational for this estimate is that the first reading in the Houses of Commons happened in May 2023. It normally will take about one year for a new bill to become a parliamentary act via royal assent, which takes us to May 2024. The act would likely not become a law until the following October 1st because in the UK, new legislation normally becomes law on either the 1st of April or the 1st of October each year. This means that the most likely date on which the renters reform bill will become law is 1st October 2024.
Renter’s Reform Bill timeline
1. First Reading
17 May 2023
This is the initial introduction of the Renters’ Reform Bill in the legislative body. It’s a formal step that signals the start of the legislative process.
2. Second Reading
Between September – November 2023 (estimated)
The second reading involves a more detailed discussion and debate about the bill’s general principles. It usually takes place a few months after the first reading.
3. Committee Stage
Autumn 2023 (estimated)
During this stage, the bill is examined in detail by a committee. They may propose amendments and make changes to the bill.
Winter 2023 (estimated)
The final version of the bill, as amended, is debated during the third reading. Further amendments may be made at this stage.
May 2024 (estimated)
Once both houses of the legislative body (such as the Parliament) have approved the final version of the bill, it receives royal assent from the reigning monarch. This step is the formal approval that turns the bill into an Act of Parliament, but it’s not yet a law.
1st Oct 2024 (estimated)
Starting from this date, the Renters’ Reform Bill becomes law for all new tenancies that commence after this point. This likely means that the new rules and regulations established by the bill will apply to new rental agreements.
1st Oct 2025 (estimated)
On this date, the Renters’ Reform Bill also affects all historic tenancies that commenced before the first implementation.
Is the renters reform bill fair for landlords?
Many landlords consider the renters reform bill to be unfair because it looks like it will it very difficult for landlords to get rid of “bad” tenants who are not more than 2 months in rent arrears. Rent arrears are not the only aspect of a tenant’s behaviour that makes a tenant “bad”. There are many other factors, including; antisocial behaviour, late rent payments, damage to the property etc.
As things stand now, the only financially viable and almost guaranteed ways that a landlord can evict a tenant is with a section 21 or a section 8. Each of these typically cost a landlord about £1000 – £2000 in legal fees.
Only when the tenant is over 2 months in rent arrears can the landlord can leverage a section 8.
In practice, for most landlords, all other reasons for eviction generally rely on section 21, where the landlord needs a high likelihood of success.
There are other sections that can be used for evictions, but they have a low eviction success rate, and they each require a court hearing where the case will be assessed on an individual basis, and without any certain outcome. For landlords, this means legal fees that can reach into the tens of thousands of pounds, and with no level certainty of a successful eviction.
Often judges will do everything possible to avoid evicting tenants because they want to contain the nation’s homelessness problem, and limit pressure on social housing. So, instead of eviction, judges will often rule in favour of a middle ground outcome such as a suspended eviction, or order the tenant to replace damaged items, or some other solution where ultimately the landlord still ends up with the tenant living in the property.
Due to these worrying dynamics, the National Residential Landlords Association has argued against the bill, calling for an improved court system as well as further improvements to bill’s grounds for eviction. They have asked for these to be introduced before section 21 is amended or abolished. Since the renter’s reform bill will do away with section 21, based on current information, it means that landlords who need an eviction will only have the following options to choose from:
- Hope that the tenant falls into significant rent arrears and use a section 8 to evict them.
- Rely on other grounds for eviction i.e. spend several thousand pounds on legal costs, with a low probability of achieving an immediate eviction.
- Sell the property – The new bill allows landlords to evict easily if they are selling the rented property.
- Landlord moves into the property – The bill makes provisions for landlords to evict if they, or their family plan to move into the property.
What can landlords do?
There is very little landlords can do to stop the bill. But the new bill does contain a new provision whereby if landlords are selling the rented property, then that in itself will be a no-questions-asked grounds for eviction. Resorting to selling a property just to get rid of a tenant might seem a bit extreme, but it’s going to become one of the only reliable and affordable means of eviction for many landlords.
Selling a property with a bad tenant can be made very difficult by a tenant, because legally, landlords need permission from the tenant before they, or any agent acting on their behalf, can enter the rented property. Since property viewings by prospective buyers rely on property access, it’s easy to see how plans to sell can be stifled by a bad tenant refusing access. Property Rescue can help landlords with uncooperative tenants. We will buy any property, even one with tenants. Something to keep in mind if you have this issue, so do get in touch with us.