Today’s Queen’s Speech has confirmed that government plans to abolish the ‘no fault’ Section 21 possession procedure are back on track.
We previously considered this proposal back in April, since when much of the government’s legislative programme has had to make way for Brexit.
While September’s Queen’s Speech was silent on this issue, it was confirmed today that the government will bring forward “new measures to protect tenants”. The Speech itself did not go into detail, but the subsequent briefing notes confirm proposals to introduce the Renters Reform Bill which will “introduce a package of reforms to deliver a fairer and more effective rental market”. Among those reforms is the removal of Section 21 from the Housing Act, while “strengthening the rights of landlords who need to gain possession of their property when they have a valid reason to do so.”
The principal changes proposed by the Bill are:
- Abolishing the use of ‘no fault’ evictions by removing section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 and reforming the grounds for possession.
- Reforming current legislation to give landlords more rights to gain possession of their property through the courts where there is a legitimate need for them to do so. They propose improving the court process for landlords to make it quicker and easier to regain possession.
- Introducing a new lifetime deposit so that tenants don’t need to save for a new deposit every time they move house.
- Developing and implementing measures to widen access to and expand the scope of the database of rogue landlords and property agents.
- They say this will drive an improvement in standards, and empower tenants to make an informed choice about who they rent from.
The Renters’ Reform Bill must be approved by Parliament before it becomes law; however, as it is a theme that shares cross-party support, it is quite possible that this Bill will receive Royal Assent before the end of 2020.