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When Will the Renters Reform Bill Become Law?

You probably already know that the Queen’s Speech in 2022 committed to a Renters’ Reform Bill being passed in 2022-23. Now you just want to know when will it become law because it affects your rights as a landlord or tenant. Read on to find out…

Currently, the Renters’ Reform Bill is in the ‘2nd Reading Stage‘, within the House of Lords.  This means the bill has successfully passed through the house of commons already.

The next stage for the Renters’ Reform Bill will the the Committee Stage within the House of Lords, where the bill will be handed to a committee for review and amendment.

In April and May 2024, the bill has hit a few bumps in the road, which are slowing its progress. Namely the announcement of a  July general election, and a vote by MPs to indefinitely delay the bill!

Impact of general election

The 4th July general election means that all parliament activity was dissolved in May 2024.

Once UK parliament is dissolved, all parliamentary seats become empty until the new parliament is decided, subject to the outcome of the election. This also means progress on the Renters’ Bill, and all other parliamentary business in both the House of Lords and House of Commons was put on hold until after the election.

MPs vote to indefinitely delay the bill

On the 24th of April, MPs voted in favour of  plans for an indefinite delay to ending Section 21 evictions while the effects of the new tenancy system on the county courts are assessed. This means that the abolition of section 21 won’t become a law unless the court system is deemed capable of efficiently dealing with tenant evictions under the proposed new regime.

There is no clear timelines by when the assessment of the courts will be completed. If the outcome of the assessment is that the courts are not equipped to deal with the proposed new eviction processes efficiently, this will likely slow progress further as the court systems may need to be improved before the law is passed.

What’s next for the Renters’ Bill?

The next official stage for the bill is the Committee Stage, during which a committee of lords will work on the bill, making changes where deemed necessary. 

It’s not clear how long the vote to delay the bill will affect its final journey through the House of Lords.

When will the Renters Reform Bill become law?

No official date has been confirmed by the government. We previously estimated that the Renters’ Reform Bill would come into law on 1st October 2024, for new tenancies, and on 1st October 2025 for pre-existing tenancies. However, due the general election and the recent vote to halt the bill, we predict that the Renters’ Reform Bill will become law on either 1st April 2025, or the 1st October 2025 for new tenancies. Pre-existing tenancies will likely be affected one year later, in 2026.

How we predicted the date the Renters Reform Bill will become law

The rationale for this estimate was 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. But due to the recent delays, now the most likely date is either the 1st April 2025 or 1st October 2025, depending on how long it takes for the assessment of the county court system, and what the outcome of that assessment is. It’s most likely that the court system will need improvement, and therefore the 1st October 2025 seems more probable.

Renter’s Reform Bill timeline

1. First Reading (House of Commons)

17 May 2023 (Completed)

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 (House of Commons)

October 2023 (Completed)

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 (House of Commons)

November 2023 (Completed)

During this stage, the bill is examined in detail by a committee. They may propose amendments and make changes to the bill.

4. Report Stage (House of Commons)

24th April 2024 (Completed)

During this stage, the bill is critiqued by MPs who take the floor and voice changes that they would like to see added to the bill. 

5. Third Reading (House of Commons)

24th April 2024 (Completed)

The final version of the bill, as amended, is debated during the third reading. Further amendments may be made at this stage.

6. First Reading (House of Lords)

1st May 2024  (Completed)

This is the initial introduction of the Renters’ Reform Bill to the House of Lords

7. Second Reading (House of Lords)

15th May 2024 (In progress)

The second reading involves a more detailed discussion and debate about the bill’s general principles. 

8. Committee Stage (House of Commons)

Unconfirmed date

During this stage, the bill is examined in detail by a committee. They may propose amendments and make changes to the bill.

9. Report Stage (House of Commons)

Unconfirmed date

During this stage, the bill is critiqued by lords who take the floor and voice changes that they would like to see added to the bill. 

10. Third Reading (House of Lords)

Unconfirmed date

The final version of the bill, as amended, is debated during the third reading. Further amendments may be made at this stage.

11. Royal Assent

Unconfirmed date

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.

12. First Implementation

1st April 2025 or 1st October 2025 (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 commencing after this date.

13. Second Implementation

1st April 2026 or 1st October 2026 (estimated)

On this date, the Renters’ Reform Bill also affects all historic tenancies that commenced before the first implementation date.

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 way 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 current practice for most landlords, all other reasons for eviction (apart from 2+ months rent arrears) generally use a section 21 to get rid of the tenant. This is down to costs and time. Small-time landlords can’t afford massive legal fees.

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 troublesome 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:

  1. Hope that the tenant falls into significant rent arrears and use a section 8 to evict them.
  2. Rely on other grounds for eviction i.e. spend several thousand pounds on legal costs, with a low probability of achieving an immediate eviction.
  3. Sell the property – The new bill allows landlords to evict easily if they are selling the rented property.
  4. 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 may 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 such access. Property Rescue can help landlords with uncooperative tenants. We will buy any property, even one with problematic tenants. Something to keep in mind if you have this issue, so do get in touch with us.

 

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