The sudden announcement of a General Election on 4th July has halted the progress of the Renters (Reform) Bill, which could not be passed into law before the dissolution of parliament on 30th May.

Although the bill could still become law in the future (Labour has pledged to complete the reforms should they come into power), Parliamentary rules mean that it cannot just be picked up again by the next Government, and they must start again from scratch!  This means a significant delay in its potential advancement.

This delay has serious implications for both landlords and tenants, and has sparked varied reactions across the property industry

Mixed Reactions from Stakeholders

Tenant advocacy groups have voiced their disappointment and frustration. Conor O’Shea, Policy and Public Affairs Manager of Generation Rent, stated, “This is another let down for renters who are already long overdue reform.”  [1]

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), said: “it is hugely disappointing that this Bill will not now make it into law. The news comes despite the fact that the Bill was in a state which would work for tenants and responsible landlords.” [2]

Conversely, Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark, comments: “The legislation was introduced very late on and whilst attempting to please everyone, it failed to please anyone.

“Many agents will be relieved that the current government’s plans to meddle with fixed term tenancies and reforming eviction grounds with little realisation of the unintended consequences will no longer pass, but this is soon outweighed by a sense of uncertainty and apprehension as to what the next government will do.”  [3]

Looking to the Future

The failure of the bill has introduced a further level of uncertainty in the rental market as landlords, tenants and letting agents are left unsure about the future regulatory environment.  This uncertainty could lead to instability and deter investment in the sector, however, looking ahead it may not all be doom and gloom..

Allison Thompson, national lettings managing director of Leaders Romans Group, and Propertymark Board Director,  says “The failure to pass the Bill highlights the need for comprehensive housing policies that provide stability and address the critical issues facing the sector, principally the undersupply of good-quality rental homes.

“As the UK faces a housing crisis, it is imperative that the incoming government prioritises housing policies that ensure stability and long-term solutions. Over the past 13 years, there have been 16 different housing ministers, demonstrating a lack of continuity and commitment. We urge the next administration to place housing at the heart of its agenda, providing the consistency and long-term focus that the sector desperately needs.”

She is also calling for tax reforms to stop landlords leaving the sector and is urging politicians of all parties to recognise landlords’ vital role in the housing market, suggesting “A change in focus – from penalising ‘rogue landlords’ to encouraging the many fair and honest landlords is much needed.” [4]

Timothy Douglas says “Propertymark remain committed to engaging with politicians from all sides and will continue to call for agent regulation, tax reform, more resources for the courts and enforcement authorities, as well as ensuring renting property retains flexible tenancy options that have made the private rented sector the success it is today.” [3]

Ben Beadle states “Reforming the sector will be an important issue for the next government and we [NRLA] will work constructively with them to ensure changes are fair and workable. That means empowering tenants to challenge rogue and criminal landlords whilst ensuring the confidence of responsible landlords to stay in the market.” [2] 

In Summary

As the property industry navigates this period of uncertainty, the consensus is clear: comprehensive and balanced rental market reforms are essential. The outcome of the general election will undoubtedly influence the future direction of these reforms, and stakeholders across the board are keenly awaiting further developments.

The quotes and opinions expressed in this article are those of the individuals and sources cited. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Letting Partnership. Efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided, but readers are advised to verify details independently

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