Government Considers Amendments to Renting Reforms Amidst Backlash

Ministers are engaging in consultations with backbench Tory MPs regarding potential modifications to proposed renter protections in England.

Draft government amendments to an upcoming bill, aiming to prohibit landlords from evicting tenants without cause, have been reviewed by the BBC. These amendments were circulated among Tory MPs who expressed reservations about the bill and sought to enhance landlord rights.

The government remains steadfast in its commitment to ban no-fault evictions by the upcoming election.

The Renters (Reform) Bill, initially introduced in May, proposes restricting landlords in England from evicting tenants except under specific circumstances, such as selling the property or personal use.

However, the bill has yet to progress through the House of Commons.

Approximately 50 Conservative MPs, some of whom are landlords, have voiced opposition to the bill, fearing potential repercussions such as landlords selling their properties, thereby reducing the rental housing stock.

Draft government amendments, circulated for approval among concerned Tory MPs via a WhatsApp group, have reportedly garnered substantial support.

Nevertheless, Tom Darling, campaign manager of the Renters’ Reform Coalition, criticized this approach, labeling it as “scandalous and farcical,” suggesting that the government is outsourcing the drafting of the bill to landlord backbenchers.

The proposed government amendments include stipulations that the ban on no-fault evictions cannot be implemented until an assessment of its impact on the courts is published by the Justice Secretary.

This move follows warnings from MPs on the housing select committee regarding potential court burdens resulting from abolishing no-fault evictions.

The National Residential Landlords Association has advocated for renters to commit to at least six months and for measures ensuring confidence in the court process.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove has affirmed the government’s commitment to outlawing no-fault evictions, with assurances of bolstering court resources for enforcement.

The government also pledges to review the selective licensing system for landlord regulation and standards enforcement.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner criticized the government’s handling of the matter, accusing it of betraying renters and prioritizing party politics over national interests.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities underscored its commitment to delivering a fairer private rented sector through the Renters (Reform) Bill, emphasizing the abolition of section 21 evictions and ongoing engagement with stakeholders across the sector.

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