Renters Reform Bill: Does it Actually Live up to its Promises?

The long awaited Renters Reform Bill has finally passed in parliament but there’s been some questions asked both within the sector and the media as to whether it ‘does what it says on the tin’. Mobysoft solution architect and passionate believer in equitable social housing for all, Kevin Romani-Brady, takes a closer look at what the legislation brings to the table and weighs up if the Bill will really have positive effects as intended…

The Bill had it’s first reading in parliament on 17 May 2023, almost a year later it has finally passed through the commons and will move onto the House of Lords. Renters and landlords across the country have followed the journey of the Bill with baited breath waiting to see what it will mean for them and their future Here’s what the Bill aims to introduce and some likely effects:

Ending Fixed-Term Tenancies

Moving all tenants over to rolling monthly tenancies sounds great in practice, but with Section 21 being watered down does this provide even less security than before?

6 Month Fixed-Terms

Introducing a 6 month fixed term into the tenancy (i.e. tenants cannot give notice in the first 4 months), gives landlords some security against tenants just changing their mind. Exemptions do apply including death, domestic abuse, significant hazards in the property, This certainly gives landlords and tenants flexibility and security.

Rent Increase

No rent caps have been introduced meaning that landlords may raise rents annually to market prices, with just 2 months notice. If rents rise at the rate they have in the last 2 years then this doesn’t look good for tenants but is certainly a positive point for landlords.


The great news for animal lovers is that the Bill also states that landlords cannot “unreasonably” withhold consent when a tenant requests to have a pet in their home. However, the Bill will also reform the Tenant Fees Act 2019 so that landlords can require insurance to cover any damage caused by pets living in the property (although this will not apply to tenancies of social housing). Again meaning that both Tenants and Landlords are respected and protected in the Bill.

No DSS or Families

If you thought that we had moved on from such dystopian terms of reference you’d be wrong – even the most cursory glance at any Facebook property advert reveals this terminology referenced a lot. It’s great to see the Bill banning such outdated and discriminatory terms, meaning that everyone has an equal opportunity to access good homes. For Landlords the big worry is that tenants will not use their Universal Credit to pay the rent however, if this is the case in reality, they can apply for a Managed Payment Service. It’s paramount that we do not allow a position to come to fruition in which the many are discriminated or punished for the failings of the few.

PRS Ombudsman

Excitingly, the Bill also confirmed that the Government will create a Private Rental Sector (PRS) Ombudsman which will offer a redress scheme for private renters. It will also require prospective, current, and former residential landlords to register with the redress scheme. This new database is the basis for the future “Privately Rented Property Portal Service” and will include existing residential landlords, prospective residential landlords and properties which are, or intend to be, rented in the private rental sector.

The database will also record when landlords are subject to banning orders, have been convicted of other offences under the Bill, have received a fine for breaching the rules, or if they are subject to any other regulatory action.

There’s Some Bad News Though…

One of the most eagerly anticipated parts of the Bill was banning of No Fault Evictions (Section 21 notices) however looking at the recent amendments made to the bill it is clear that this has NOT been banned, it has been diluted, watered down but there are still 3 exceptions:

  • The landlord wishes to sell
  • The landlord wishes to move back in
  • The landlord’s family wishes to move in

Arguably, these are the three main and most used reasons given in No Fault evictions, how on earth this helps renters I do not know. Hopefully with the creation of the PRS Ombudsmen it will prevent landlords from using these three reasons as loopholes to remove tenants.

The Bottom Line

My only serious concern is that having been involved in the Housing sector for over 17 years I know that the three reasons quoted above are the most used by landlords wanting to remove tenants. I have family and friends who have been moved out of homes due to these reasons and then a few months later another tenant is in and the landlord states they simply changed their mind.

That said, the Bill is a great start and long overdue and here’s hoping that the new ombudsman and database will enable the government to derive greater insight into the sector and for greater and tighter legislation to be brought forward in the future

In summary, I do feel that even with the disappointingly watered down Section 21 legislation, the Bill does represent a fairly balanced proposition for both tenants and landlords. For every concession made to landlords there is a concession for tenants.

However, in answer to my original question ‘Does the Bill live up to it’s promise?’ the answer overwhelmingly is ‘No’. This is a classic case of overpromise and underdeliver.

Kevin Romani-Brady
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