Among the key measures in the bill are the following: 

  • the abolition of assured shorthold tenancies and so-called ‘no fault’ section 21 evictions (though the timing of the implementation of this reform has been the source of contention and debate)
  • creating new grounds and amending existing grounds through which landlords can repossess their properties
  • amending the process for rent increases for certain tenancies and creating a redress scheme/ombudsman for private tenants in England for the first time
  • the creation of a private rented sector database and property portal where all landlords in England will have to register themselves and their properties
  • new measures to facilitate enforcement activity by local authorities in the housing sector, including additional investigatory powers
  • enabling tenants to have a pet in their property more easily
  • applying the decent homes standard to the private rental sector
  • the prohibition of blanket bans against tenants who receive benefits

The bill was significantly altered during its passage through the House of Commons as a result of amendments from the government. Some of these were technical/minor in nature. However, others introduced substantial changes including on the timing of the abolition of section 21 evictions; restrictions on re-letting and remarketing a property; and provisions with regard to student lettings. No opposition amendments were accepted. Labour supports the aims of the bill but has voiced concern over several provisions. These include the commencement of the abolition of section 21 evictions and the length of time in which tenants will need to reside in a property before they can seek to end their tenancy.

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