The Renters Reform Bill looks to have been hit into the long grass, and will not be enacted before the next election. For our thoughts from last week as to whether the government would proceed with it or not, see Residential tenancy reform - pressing ahead or slowing down?, Kevin Kennedy (burges-salmon.com)
The proposed abolition of section 21 notices has been the focus of attention since it was proposed and has stayed in place through four Conservative Prime Ministers. Whether the suggested reforms would achieve an improved residential lettings market is practically questionable. On the one hand it would provide much greater and very welcome security for tenants, but on the other is the realistic concern that enhanced security of tenure can go hand in glove with a exit from the sector by a lot landlords, reducing the availability of housing stock.
Now, the reports are that the government will pause enactment of the Renters Reform Bill pending improvements to the court service. The likely difficulties of the court system in dealing with the enforcement of the proposed system is something we’ve dealt with before - see Fundamental reform of residential tenancies - how this could work in practice for Estates and Private Clients, Kevin Kennedy (burges-salmon.com).
It is perhaps worth thinking of the court system as part of our national infrastructure, like the roads. It needs some TLC, and practical experience is showing wide regional disparities in the availability of court resources to deal with cases.
So that is the end for the Renters Reform Bill for the time being? Not quite. An election is coming and Labour's comments on this area suggest that they will be keen to reinvigorate these reforms, and even go further - see Labour urges no delay to renters’ protections (yahoo.com).
The court system presently feels as if it is creaking, particularly in the County Courts, where almost all of these cases will be heard (and the courts are perhaps an area of our national infrastructure where greater renewal is required).