Renters’ Reform Bill: Industry reaction

No-fault evictions will be abolished and tenants will allowed to have pets with a new landlords ombudsman appointed to provide quick resolutions to disputes.


The long-awaited Renters’ Reform Bill, introduced by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, Michael Gove, finally entered its second reading yesterday.

Its publication has been met with largely welcome but mixed reactions.

The Bill (all 89 pages of it you can read here) contains many of the expected reforms and as The Neg reported yesterday no-fault evictions will be abolished and tenants will allowed to have pets with a new Ombudsman appointed to provide quick resolutions to disputes.

The Bill crystallised plans to abolish section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and will help renters challenge poor landlords without fear of losing their home.


But as one senior estate agency expert told The Neg, “as ever the Devil will in the detail further down the line as this Bill makes its way through parliament.”

And that’s a long journey. In the House of Commons the Bill is now in its second reading before it will head to Committee stage and then Report stage before its third reading.

It will then have to follow the same process in the House of Lords with a first and then second reading before another Committee state and Report stage and a third reading.

Only then will it go back to the House of Commons for Consideration of amendments and then, hopefully, Royal Assent.

Legislation on renters’ reforms will introduce significant changes.”

timothy douglas ropa propertymark
Timothy Douglas, Propertymark

Timothy Douglas, Propertymark’s Head of Policy and Campaigns, says that the proposed legislation on renters’ reforms will introduce significant changes to the private rented sector in England with the measures impacting landlords, tenants and letting agents.

“Propertymark has provided advice and evidence to officials at the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to inform the development of the proposals,” he adds.

“We will provide briefings to parliamentarians as they consider the Bill’s contents during its passage through Parliament to ensure the measures are workable and evidence-based.

“The measures will be introduced in stages and as the provisions are passed into law, we will support letting agents to understand the changes to ensure they are implemented successfully.”

More detail is needed if the Bill is going to work as intended.”

Ben Beadle, NRLA

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, expressed concern that the Bill lacked detail.

He says: “Responsible landlords need to be confident that when Section 21 ends, where they have a legitimate reason, they will be able to repossess their properties as quickly as possible.

“Without this assurance, the Bill will only exacerbate the rental housing supply crisis many tenants now face.

“Whilst we welcome the Government’s pledge to ensure landlords can effectively recover properties from anti-social tenants and those failing to pay rent, more detail is needed if the Bill is going to work as intended.

“Ministers must develop a plan to improve the speed and efficiency with which the courts process possession claims. Although the Government has accepted NRLA calls to digitise cases, staff numbers need to increase in the court system as well to meet the needs of these reforms.

“Likewise, the Government must recognise the serious concerns of landlords letting to students about open ended tenancies. Without the ability to plan around the academic year, students will have no certainty that properties will be available to rent when they need them.”


The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors says it’s also concerned for tenants as to any knock-on effects as rents continue to rise alongside the supply of rental properties dropping.

It adds: “The reforms must be delivered in such a way that gives confidence to landlords and does not result in them leaving the sector, further exacerbating the challenges for tenants who are already struggling to find quality affordable homes.

The proposals must be backed by process changes including an improved court process.”

“Landlords have stressed to RICS that proposals must be backed by process changes including an improved court process to make it easier for them to take back a property in legitimate cases.

“The creation of the new property portal is welcome in that it will provide both tenants and landlords with valuable information, however it will require support from Government to get going.

“Homes of a good standard benefit all parties, and we welcome the move to improve the quality of homes in the PRS.

“However, we would like to see joined-up thinking between new EPC measures and decent homes so that landlords can plan for the introduction of both and tenants know what to expect.”

We’re not completely clear on what the final version of this legislation will contain.”

Oli Sherlock, Goodlord
Oli Sherlock, Goodlord

Oli Sherlock, Director at rental market expert Goodlord, says: “The rental sector has never been under more pressure. The ongoing delays to the publication of this Bill have caused a lot of uncertainty for the market at a time when it could ill afford it.

“Even now, we’re not completely clear on what the final version of this legislation will contain, but at least we have more clarity on the contours after years of speculation.

“There are really positive steps to celebrate here when it comes to tenants’ rights. And we’ve seen some softening of areas that were giving landlords major concerns – such as the ability to evict anti-social tenants or those who consistently miss rental payments.

“But we can’t hope to sustainably reform and strengthen the lettings industry without meaningfully addressing the structural issues facing the market.

“The Government should not see the publication of this legislation as a job done. It should be the first step in a longer line of urgent changes that are needed.

“A healthy rental market requires empowered, protected tenants as well as fair-minded, incentivised landlords in order to function. Any legislation that addresses one without the other won’t make the difference it needs to.”

Elsewhere, industry reaction was mixed.

Landlords have waited nervously for this bill but the impact will be minimal.”

Guy Gittens, Foxtons
Guy Gittens, Foxtons

Guy Gittins, Chief Executive of Foxtons, says: “We are glad that today, after years of speculation, we are going to see more clarity over the current and proposed rules.

“Landlords have waited nervously for this bill to be published, but we feel that the impact on landlords and renters will be minimal.

“While it would seem that the ban on section 21 will give renters greater security, in practice we do not believe this will change the relationship between the vast majority of landlords and tenants.

“In our experience, the number of times landlords choose to evict tenants who pay rent in London properties is incredibly rare.

 “The key to better regulation in the Private Rental Sector is that it’s coherent, accessible and consistently applied.”

We already have a shortage of supply and this might drive more vulnerable tenants further underground.”

Allison Thompson image
Allison Thompson, Leaders Romans

Allison Thompson, National Lettings Managing Director at Leaders Romans Group, says the principal intention of the Renters’ Reform Bill is good if it assists with filtering out rogue landlords and gives prospective tenants access to more information to help make informed decisions.

She adds: “Prior to the strengthening of Section 8, there was a strong suggestion that the Renters’ Reform Bill would be heavily weighted in favour of tenants and may serve to discourage new landlords to the sector.

“We already have a shortage of supply therefore all this may serve to do is exacerbate that and drive more vulnerable tenants further underground in desperate attempts to find housing.”

But she warns: “Investment in buy-to-let is not just about capital return, but monthly rental yield. It is important that landlords can continue to increase their rents in line with market conditions and also in line with ongoing improvements they may make to their properties.

“The reality is that rent increases only take place one a year anyway and mostly in conjunction with a renewal where negotiations tend to start two or three months in advance.

“The Government must realise that the housing crisis – specifically the under-supply of rental units – cannot be resolved by penalising the already stretched private rented sector.”

The success of this Bill will hinge on what lurks behind the sound bite.”

Link to news of Movers & Shakers
Ben Quaintrell, My Property Box

Ben Quaintrell, managing diretor of My Property Box, fears that the uncertainty created by the scrapping of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions could lead to many landlords quitting the sector.

He says: “The Government says it is instead strengthening Section 8 eviction notices, particularly concerning anti-social behaviour, which has always been very difficult to prove. Again, the success of this Bill will hinge on what lurks behind the sound bite.

“Michael Gove has acknowledged the delays around eviction court cases by announcing new digital processes, as well as strengthening enforcement powers for councils and in applying the Decent Homes Standard, but unless considerable investment is made in the courts and in ensuring councils can overcome a lack of funding, qualified staff, and unreliable data, any enforcement will remain blunted.

“I do welcome the appointment of a new Ombudsman to provide cheaper and quicker resolutions to disputes as will most landlords who support raising standards by driving the minority of rogue operators out of the rental sector.

 “However, the success of this Bill continues to hinge on whether it has been properly thought out, it can be practically applied and balances the rights of both landlords and tenants.”

We absolutely support the need for redress.”

Rebecca March, The Property Ombudsman

Rebecca Marsh, Property Ombudsman at The Property Ombudsman (TPO), says that the Renters’ Reform Bill, as a package, is the most significant set of reforms for the private rented sector in a generation.

“Requiring landlords to have a reason to evict a tenant while at the same time giving them enhanced abilities to deal with anti-social behaviour, it seeks to address issues which TPO regularly sees in the enquiries and disputes we receive.

“Underpinning this is the need to reduce court times and the introduction of redress, both of which will play a fundamental role in ensuring these reforms work on a practical level.”

 And she adds: “We absolutely support the need for redress, in the form of an Independent, not for profit, Landlord Ombudsman, as it is better for landlords and for tenants than basic redress schemes.

“This is because the enquiries function will be vital to resolving matters before they become major disputes and will allow an early warning of areas of concern, so landlords can be properly supported in addressing these before they get into more formal processes – be they the formal elements of redress or the courts.

“It is also important that the provision of redress is based on, and for, the interests of the parties and the sector, not the interests of shareholders.”

The abolition of no-fault evictions (section 21) needs to happen in tandem with essential court reform.”

Ian Fletcher, British Property Federation
Ian Fletcher, British Property Federation

Ian Fletcher, Director of Policy, British Property Federation, says: “We have long supported many of the bill’s provisions, including the landlord portal, access to an ombudsman and the introduction of the Decent Homes Standard, which support the high standards already prevalent in the build-to-rent sector.

“The abolition of no-fault evictions (section 21) needs to happen in tandem with essential court reform.

“While court procedures are a last resort, the reforms set out in the bill will mean that all good reasons for landlords wanting their property back will now have to go to court, and without digitalisation of the courts these proceedings will be lengthy and expensive.

“On the evidence of the past year, little progress has been made on digitalisation.

“As a result, the Government now needs to turbo-charge its efforts. Access to justice should also be subject to minimum service standards, as backbench MPs have called for.

“By not prescribing a minimum tenancy length the Government further risks fuelling a booming short-lets market, where holiday lets replace much needed permanent homes, at a time when the rental market is already suffering a significant lack of supply.”


Lenders also welcomed the publication of the Renters’ Reform Bill.

We welcome the abolition of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions’”

Damian Thompson, Nationwide
Damian Thompson, Nationwide

Damian Thompson, Director of Landlord at Nationwide Building Society, says that the Renters’ Reform Bill provides much needed clarity for landlords and tenants.

“We welcome the abolition of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions’ and replacing this with a clear list of reasons for eviction, such as anti-social behaviour,” he says.

“We hope this will be supported by court reform to speed up the eviction process when something has gone wrong during a tenancy.

“While it’s good to see the Bill published, government must not lose sight of the mounting pressure landlords face through interest rate rises, rental arrears and the need for certainty over increased EPC requirements.

“If these are not adequately addressed, it will drive good landlords out of the sector, further exacerbating the undersupply of privately rented accommodation.”


Michael Webb, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Battersea says that tenants being unable to find anywhere suitable to rent with their pet is sadly one of the most common reasons people bring their animals to Battersea for rehoming.

“As the rental market becomes more competitive, we can only expect it is going to get even more common,” he says.

 “Not only will the long-overdue introduction of this Bill to Parliament bring us one step closer to opening up the many joys of pet ownership to millions of renters, it could dramatically reduce the number of dogs and cats we see being needlessly separated from their owners due to widespread restrictive pet policies.

“Further still, it will help keep tenants in their pet-friendly homes for longer – undoubtedly the best outcome for renters, pets and landlords.”


Mortgage brokers, too, offered up some mixed reactions.

The exiting landlords will make a tidy profit and the state coffers.”

Jonathan Burridge, We Are Money
Jonathan Burridge, We Are Money

Jonathan Burridge, founding adviser at hybrid mortgage adviser, We Are Money, says: “This is a good move for tenants and gives them greater protection for a fundamental need of tenure security.

“The number of properties owned for investment has doubled during the past decade, so, if the impact of this legalisation is a mass exodus of landlords it will mean more property available for owner occupiers and might see prices adjust.

“The exiting landlords will make a tidy profit and the state coffers will increase because of bumper CGT revenues. I don’t see a downside.”

Whilst reform is definitely long overdue I think it will be completely counter-productive.”

Rhys Schofield, Peak Mortgages and Protection
Rhys Schofield, Peak Mortgages and Protection

Rhys Schofield, managing director at Derbyshire-based mortgage advisers Peak Mortgages and Protection, reckons the Bill could end up being counterproductive.

He says: “You might think that as the proprietor of a firm that specialises in helping first-time-buyers, I’d be in favour of kicking landlords but I’m not.

“My fear is that if we continue to drive them out of the market, supply falls at a time when demand is growing, which just drives prices higher for tenants.

“Whilst reform is definitely long overdue, without a proper program of housebuilding running alongside to provide alternatives I think it will be completely counter-productive.”

Tax increases are making business increasingly tough for landlords.”

Rob Gill, Altura Mortgage Finance
Rob Gill, Altura Mortgage Finance

And Rob Gill, managing director at mortgage broker Altura Mortgage Finance, wars that the government needs to start redressing the balance between landlords and tenants.

He says: “While the Renters’ Reform Bill itself looks fair, sensible and measured, it comes on the back of years of regulation and tax increases that are making business increasingly tough for landlords.

“Private landlords are a crucial part of not just the property market but a functioning economy. The government needs to start redressing the balance so landlords have the means and incentives to carry on providing the high-quality property at fair rents that tenants deserve.”

This is based on flawed thinking.”

Lewis Shaw, Riverside Mortgages
Lewis Shaw, Riverside Mortgages

Lewis Shaw, founder of Teesside-based broker Riverside Mortgages, says increasing mortgage rates and renter reform are slowly killing off the buy-to-let market.

He adds: “Almost everyone seems to think that if landlords are forced to sell up because of the inability to manage their properties, this will reduce supply and send rents even higher.

“This is based on flawed thinking. It’s almost as though many commentators think each time a buy-to-let is sold, it vanishes from the stock of property available, thereby reducing total property supply, which it doesn’t.

“The number of homes remains equal. For every buy-to-let that is sold, it’s sold to either an owner-occupier or another landlord.

“If sold to a landlord, then it’s available to rent. If sold to a first-time buyer, that’s someone who isn’t renting and has potentially moved out of rental accommodation.

“This, coupled with the start of 100% mortgages, helps tenants who have been scalped for years by landlords get onto the property ladder.

“You might even consider the timing of 100% mortgages to be suspiciously convenient, with mortgage rates killing buy-to-let and renter reform making its debut.”


Suspiciously convenient or not, only time will tell what the Renters’ Reform Bill will finally look like as it makes its long journey through Parliament.

Debates, amendments and changes are all still to come. This may just be the beginning, but at least it’s a start.


  1. Anyone that thinks this will be good for tenants are the same clowns that said 3 years ago that the last reform would be good for tenants. Rents have sky rocketed as predicted; and will continue to do so. As for pets? Many landlords don’t want an animal in their house that licks it’s butt and drags it on the carpet. And yes, they do do it when you’re not looking! I also assume there will not be any discrimination on religious grounds as was suggest before! one rule for all.
    Bad time for tenants coming up…again. The more the mess with the market, the bigger the mess.

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