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Future Of Renters Reform Bill Remains In Doubt

The Renter's Reform Bill has been hampered by delays since it was introduced last year. (Alamy)

3 min read

The future of the government's much-delayed Renters Reform Bill remains in doubt, with uncertainty about its path after the next parliamentary recess.

The government has said it wants to “bring in a better deal for renters” with its Renters Reform Bill, which was introduced to parliament in 2023 and had its second reading in September. 

However its future remains in doubt, with a source in the House of Lords telling PoliticsHome the bill had "been put back indefinitely" following a series of delays to bill due to pushback from Tory backbenchers. 

On Wednesday PoliticsHome reported there are Labour and Liberal Democrat peers in the House of Lords receptive to requests from campaigners to strengthen protections in the bill for renters who fall into arrears, and were considering amendments when it returned to the chamber for its next reading. 

Labour's shadow homelessness minister Mike Amesbury also told PoliticsHome he believed the bill had been put on hold following pressure from the government's own party. 

"It seems that the lobby from Tory backbenchers who happen to be landlords is putting these vital reforms into the too difficult box for the prime minister," said Amesbury. 

A spokesperson for the department for levelling up, housing, and communities (DLHUC) did not deny that the bill had been put on hold, telling PoliticsHome: “Our landmark Renters Reform Bill is passing through Parliament and will deliver a fairer private rented sector for both tenants and landlords.

"We continue to meet regularly with a range of groups representing all those in the private rented sector and engage on our reforms."  

However, a DHLUC source told PoliticsHome they believed the bill "should come back after recess". 

It comes after The Sun last week reported the bill was on the brink of collapse, with housing secretary Michael Gove held to "ransom" by Tory MPs.

Among the plans in the bill is abolishing section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, introducing the right for private tenants to request having pets in the homes, and making it illegal for people who receive benefits or have children to be refused tenancy by landlords or agents. 

However, Gove has encountered difficulty getting the legislation through parliament due to a sizable amount of opposition from Tory MPs, many of whom are landlords. 

In February PoliticsHome reported attempts to abolish fixed term tenancies in the bill could be weakened by proposed government amendments following pressure from Tory backbenchers. PoliticsHome also understands there are around 60 Tory MPs who have raised concerns privately about the legislation. 

One Tory MP told PoliticsHome discussions were still ongoing with the government over the future of the bill.

Another key rebel on the legislation told PoliticsHome: "The Renters Reform Bill is like a plane which is going round and round for two or three weeks, but there is no landing pad in sight just yet". 

Additional reporting by Tom Scotson. 

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