The government introduced a new “Renters’ Reform” bill to Parliament today as part of what is set to be the biggest shakeup of renters’ rights in England since the 1980s.
Homelessness charities have welcomed the new measures – which include abolishing ‘no fault’ evictions – but the bill has been criticised for not freezing rent.
So, what is the bill and what will it mean for renters?
FactCheck takes a look.
What is the Renters’ Reform bill and what will the removal of ‘no fault’ evictions mean for renters?
First promised in 2019, the bill will create a register of landlords, introduce a private rented ombudsman to help enforce renters’ rights, and make it illegal for landlords and agents to refuse to rent properties to people who receive benefits.
Local authorities will also be given more power to protect renters’ rights, and landlords won’t be able to unreasonably decline a tenant’s requests to have a pet in their home.
The bill will also abolish ‘no fault’ section 21 evictions, which currently allows landlords to evict renters at just two months’ notice without having to give them a reason, and makes tenants reluctant to ask for repairs or challenge rent rises due to the ease with which landlords can evict them.
According to the charity Shelter, 24,060 households were threatened with homelessness in England as a result of a Section 21 no-fault eviction in 2022 – 50 per cent higher than 2021.
Polly Neate, Shelter’s chief executive, said the bill “is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to finally fix private renting”.
She added that for “far too long” Shelter’s emergency advisers have helped renters “facing anguish and uncertainty, paying sky-high rents in return for poor living conditions, with no protection or security if they complain”.
Councillor Darren Rodwell, housing spokesperson for the Local Government Association, also noted that the removal of ‘no fault’ evictions is “a significant step towards tackling our national homelessness crisis”.
What doesn’t the bill include?
Although the bill has been welcomed by charities for the security and stability it could give, it has also been criticised for not including measures to deal with unaffordable rents, such as rent freezes.
Ms Neate told FactCheck that the bill will “give renters the essential security they need to safely contest an unfair rent rise”.
But Mr Downie, told us that it’s “crucial” that rent increases “don’t become a tool for landlords to force out tenants in lieu of no-fault evictions”.
He said increasing rents “beyond a reasonable level” can “amount to eviction by another name, forcing people out of their home and into homelessness”.
“What we want to see is a reasonable limit on how much rent can be increased by within a tenancy,” he added.