Renters reforms to be shelved due to election

Posted on Friday, May 24, 2024

The government’s long-awaited Renters (Reform) Bill looks set to be shelved after Rishi Sunak called a surprise July general election on Wednesday.

The prime minister would not guarantee that the law would pass before parliament shuts down for the election later today.

Talks between the government and opposition parties over which bills to rush through before then are ongoing, as part of what is known as the “wash-up” period – a term used to describe the final days before parliament is formally dissolved.

But there is no sign of the Renters (Reform) Bill on the parliamentary timetable for today.

Sources from both the Conservatives and Labour have told the press that despite ongoing negotiations, the bill will not be debated on Friday, meaning it will fall once parliament is dissolved.

Labour sources indicated that although they wanted changes, they would have supported the bill as it currently stood.

But a government source argued amendments from cross-bench, or independent, peers in the House of Lords meant there was not enough time to pass the legislation.

The Renters Reform Bill was intended to redress the power balance between renters and landlords, but has been controversially delayed after the government pushed back some of its flagship proposals, including the ban on Section 21 evictions.

First promised by the Tories five years ago, the ban was delayed indefinitely pending court reforms, in what was widely seen as a concession to landlords.

Sue Edmonds, CEO at Capital Letters, commented: “After months of work, the Renters Reform Bill has been killed by the general election. The next Government must prioritise banning Section 21 no fault evictions. These are the biggest cause of family homelessness.

Tom Darling, campaign manager at the Renters Reform Coalition, concurred: “If the government confirm the Renters (Reform) Bill won’t make it through the “wash-up” process, the bill will fall due to the pending election and the task of fixing England’s broken renting system will fall to the next government. After waiting five years for change, renters will have been badly let down.”

Labour has previously pledged to support rental reform if it wins power at the election on Thursday 4 July.

But the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill could become law today.

Via @PropertyIndustryEye