The Renters Reform Bill Is Dead (Section 21 Lives To Fight Another Day)

End of Renters Reform Bill

I know this isn’t a “NEWS FLASH” kind of place – the likes of LandlordToday and LandlordZone manage all that mundane guff well enough – but honestly, I just can’t help myself on this glorious occasion.

The sun is shining (it’s actually not, it’s 11pm right now – and I should be in bed), the birds are singing (they’re probably not, given the time), and the Renters Reform Bill’s head is on a pike!

Yup, the Tories pledge – the very one they kept insisting was imminent – to introduce the Renters Reform Bill (which included the controversial abolishment of the “no fault” Section 21 eviction notice) is officially dead as a dodo. It’s yesterday’s news, today’s fish and chip paper. The fat lady has sung. Elvis has left the building. That’s a wrap!

The pledge promptly keeled over like a sack of spuds after Rishi Sunak spontaneously combusted and called a snap general election. In short, they had until last Friday (24th May 2024), to push the turd over the line if they wanted to fulfil their pledge. They chose not to. But interestingly, they did have the will to squeeze through the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act 2024, meaning skipping on the bill was likely a conscious decision.

HAHAHA.

I don’t know about you, but I’m on the verge of mentally torturing my neighbours for eternity by running down the street butt-naked. There’s nothing quite like an absolute balls-up to get the blood pumping!

Glorious news! I feel like a million bucks right now (but not for the reason you may be thinking)!

Yes, like most landlords, I thought the idea of flushing 21 Section down the bog was a farce, so the turn of events is most welcome.

Now we can all sleep better at night, knowing that we can legally continue, at least for now, doing what the vast majority of us never did in the first place – dish out Section 21 notices willy-nilly, for no reason whatsoever, despite being told otherwise.

Phewwww, that was a close call!

Personally, I was never concerned by the bill from a landlord or business perspective, because unlike many, I didn’t think for one second it was a death sentence for private landlords. Rather, I simply thought the whole idea was a nonsensical piece of junk, because I couldn’t find any convincing evidence suggesting the bill would achieve the promised outcome (i.e. heightened tenant security). If anything, I thought it would have the opposite effect, for reasons already explained.

I was actually more concerned by the precedent the bill sets – one that gives our government more control over our personal assets/property than I’m comfortable with. Where does that kind of control end?

However, that’s not why I’m doing cartwheels and contemplating a midnight streaking session. I’m celebrating because I feel like I’ve just been spared, perhaps temporarily, from being strapped to a mediaeval torturing device.

Do you even realise how much content on my blog I would have needed to update if this garbage passed?

You don’t even know what I was on the cusp of enduring! You don’t even know!

Christ alive, I feel like a million bucks right now. I think this is what it feels like after having a crippling haemorrhoid surgically removed. The sense of relief, oh boy!

Don’t expect any official announcements from these clowns!

There hasn’t been any official announcement by the Tory party to confirm the termination of the Renters Reform Bill, and I’ve been told not to expect one either, because that would require someone very brave and pathetic to emerge from the rubble, and explain that all the assertions promising the end of Section 21 before a general election were in fact a bunch of porkies.

Instead, it seems like they’ve opted for the discrete approach, by discarding the bill like it’s a rolled-up booger ball, flicking it under the dining table while no ones looking.

Surely it deserved a more respectful burial than that.

What we do know for sure is that Parliament was prorogued last Friday, and the Renters Reform Bill was not rushed through during the “wash up” (the period where all final business must be concluded before the end of a parliamentary session). So it’s definitely not happening.

So now what? Will Section 21 eventually be abolished?

Now I’m going to throw on the smallest and tightest pair of speedos I can possibly find and enjoy the sun while it’s shining, and let the world know about my close encounter with manual labour.

Renters-Reform-Bill-Survivor

Do I think we’ve been forever spared from the abolishment of section 21? Hell naaah.

I’m under no illusion. This ghastly notion can, and most likely will, rear its ugly head again in some form again in the future. I have a feeling this thing is going to be as resilient as chronic genital herpes.

Nonetheless, even if this is a temporary delay of the evitable, I’m going to enjoy the moment and consider this a victory. If it does pop up again, we now know it can be defeated, whether it be by brute force campaigning or a comically incompetent banana-slip.

The next phase of the private rental sector (including the fate of Section 21 notices) will be dictated by the party in power after the general election in July.

If the Tories remain in power, some numpty could quite easily pick up the baton and continue the pursuit of violating our rights. If Labour comes into power, many landlords anticipate an even bleaker fate, with the introduction of more severe violations, entailing an even bigger numpty swiftly closing the curtains on no-fault evictions.

However, the likely reality is, whoever does secure power will have to start from scratch, and considering the time it’s already taken, any significant reform of the private rental sector is unlikely to materialise anytime soon.

Whatever the case may be, you can be assured that I will remain confident in the fact that party pledges, especially in the lead-up to an election, mean absolutely diddly-squat.

If you’ve been following me for any reasonable amount of time, you’ll know I’ve frequently recommended against pinning your hopes and fears on political pledges, and to especially refrain from making rash decisions off the back of them. Sure, consider the possibility, but don’t bet the house on it (quite literally in our case)! That’s because we’re relying on entities with an incredible track record of not delivering. That’s essentially why I have given the bill very little airtime. I prefer not to talk in hypotheticals.

While the industry was bracing for impact and clogging the airwaves with progress updates and how to survive the post no-fault evictions era, I only bothered to produce one very sceptical post on the Renters Reform Bill, back in February. Even then I had this niggling feeling I was over-cooking it. I knew should have just blogged about my tenant’s moulting hairy back – an actual problem causing real world health and safety concerns.

As I said at the time, before I do something batshit crazy like believe the word of a politician, I’d need to see Hell frozen over…

Frozen Hell

Do I dare to gloat and be reprehensibly nauseating? I certainly do!

I CALLED IT!! I KNEW IT!! Man, my complete lack of faith in our politicians really paid off big time.

But it wasn’t difficult, to be fair.

I’ve seen this story play out too many times: a politician makes a crowd pleasing pledge and assures everyone something amazing is about to happen.

It doesn’t happen.

In the same vein, that’s why I haven’t said much about the lingering pledge to introduce Minimum EPC C-ratings for private landlords, while many other landlords and landlord publications have been behaving and sobbing like it’s a done deal.

I’ll believe it when it happens.

The saddest bloody thing about this whole ordeal!

Many landlords and tenants made life-changing adjustments because our government kept assuring us the bill was happening.

Whether you agree or disagree with the bill itself, what a tragic case of emotional abuse, not to mention a colossal waste of time.

Be that as it may, I’m sure many landlords will feel like they live to fight another day. I’m with you.

Landlord out xo

23 Join the Conversation...

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Georgina jessup 29th May, 2024 @ 09:59

I am 73 years of age and need to sell my rented house but don’t have all the paperwork needed for section 21.
Is it easier if I need to sell to get rid of tenants?

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Nicolette 29th May, 2024 @ 10:40

No more section 21. The courts can lie on their laurels again (apparently) and the boats keep coming.
Whatever happened to Mr Gove pontificating the bill would pass before the next election?

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Adrianne 29th May, 2024 @ 10:44

Thank goodness we are seeing the back of Gove. He is no Conservative and seemed to have a hatred of Landlords. He has placed many obstacles in our way and is no friend to renters, either, causing a shortage of supply and rent increases in the market.
Gove is not a Conservative. In my opinion he is a communist and an unpleasant one.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 29th May, 2024 @ 10:47

@Georgina

I think you have a few options in the case:

1) Comply with S21 requirements and then issue notice.

2) Talk to your tenants, explain your situation and see if they'd be willing to mutually terminate the tenancy given the circumstances. As long as you're both reasonable and you give them plenty of notice, this is the best option, in my opinion.

3) Sell the property with tenants in situ (although, this is likely to limit your market)

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 29th May, 2024 @ 10:48

@Nicolette

Well, pick your stance:

1) he was blind-sided by the snap election, so it was out of his control.
2) He lied

:)

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J Hughes 29th May, 2024 @ 10:55

Hi.
I don't want to 'p**s on your chips' but I am reasonably certain that the imminent Labour Government are sure to bring in anti-landlord legislation sooner rather than later.
We already have legislation where I am based in Wales that is similar in many ways to the now defunct Rental Reform Bill.
Labour in Westminster will no doubt be looking at England and adopting a similar system for them.
They look on landlords as pariahs who are exploiting the hoi polloi.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 29th May, 2024 @ 11:01

Hi @J

I don't doubt it. But we don't get many wins as landlords these days, so I'll take whatever I can, no matter how small and potentially temporary.

Moreover, one thing I've learned is that it's a lot easier to talk a big game than actually implementing it. Labour will still have to provide solutions for many challenges if they want to reform the PRS, and that won't happen overnight.

So let's wait and see :)

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Se7en 29th May, 2024 @ 11:18

High five!

Always knew my instinct was correct. I've seen so many landlords on forums saying "get out now!!" "Sell up as you it's all over for us!" Blah Blah Blah!

This is the ONLY website for landlords with any real rationality, and one I return to whenever the other nay sayers are putting the pressure on my mental well being! I like being a landlord as much of a pain in the arse it can be at times!

Fact its, if THE LANDLORD isn't worried about the future of the industry, then neither am I. An i'll stick to that thought and keep coming back as this place puts my mind at rest.

Anyway, i'm off to welcome in 3 new tenants, and carry on in my dirty overalls renovating one of my flats :)

Happy days :D

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Stealth Bomber 29th May, 2024 @ 14:59

Tis merely a stay of execution, Landlords still on death row and it won't get any better under a Labour Government.

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Pete 29th May, 2024 @ 17:51

S21 is nothing compared to Labours Renters Charter commissioned by ‘LabourList’ take a look - ouch!

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NEIL THOMAS 29th May, 2024 @ 17:53

Stealth Bomber, you are spot on buddy. Today the weather is fine. Tomorrow under labour it looks very cloudy indeed.

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Borrieboy 29th May, 2024 @ 19:44

Before y’all get overexcited that S21 reform is over, don’t forget that one Sadiq Khan has been pushing the government to grant him powers over London’s rental sector, by way of rent controls. Not surprisingly, the Tory government told him to foxtrot oscar, however, with Skyr and his bunch of no-marks assuming power in a few weeks time, you can bet slimy Skyr will likely as not grant Sadsqueek the powers he’s been lobbying for. I’ll give it 12 months before the rubber hits the road.

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Alister 29th May, 2024 @ 20:45

From a Scotland perspective, well done in the delay of S21 reform as similar here was implemented many years ago with PRS contracts, which resulted in landlords becoming more selective and robost on tenant selection or for other business reasons, exiting the sector.

I have no doubt that 'no fault' will eventually be the norm UK wide, however the greater concern is not 'no fault', but what happens next ............ rent controls?

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Michael Tucker 30th May, 2024 @ 07:59

Good

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 30th May, 2024 @ 09:33

@Se7en

Ha, well, I'm not sure following my lead is the best path to take. But thank you :)

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm not in the business of telling people how to spend or invest their money. Everyone needs to do what's best for them.

All I can say is that I've never experienced a time when landlords weren't fearful of something; there's always something in the works that we can use to fear us out. I purchased during the peak in 07/08, moments before the global financial system collapsed, and I'd argue that more people were scared then, telling me that the real estate market is doomed for eternity. It recovered. And it turned out to be a great time to invest.

I understand why people are scared now, particularly of a Labour government. But when I look at the bigger picture (i.e. inflation, fiat debasement as central banks continue to print... etc.), I'm personally more fearful of incompetent and reckless fiscal policy than any PRS reform.

In other words, I think it's a better hedge to have my wealth invested in hard assets like property, because it produces yield and capital growth, rather than selling to sit on cash (which can only benefit from yield that is below the rate of inflation - that really is a sinking ship!).

I get the feeling that many people are neglecting the bigger picture, and only focusing on the perils of BTL legislation. I find that odd, because landlords are property investors also - we are invested in assets that benefits from capital growth. Have people not seen how GBP has been devaluing over the years? It's insane. Why are they more scared of PRS reform than that?

But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

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Pete 30th May, 2024 @ 12:02

Reply to The Landlord. What you say is very true ‘but’ if you wished to sell up then there may problems under Labour! Looking at ‘Labour-list’ commissioned by the Labour Party then selling might be difficult unless you’re able to sell to another Landlord for a low price as many are getting out fast.

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Borrieboy 30th May, 2024 @ 12:08

I’m certainly not advocating that people follow my lead of selling up but eventually what’s the point of “investing” in property unless you check out for cash at some point? Whilst property will generate yield as well as capital growth, don’t forget that CGT chunk when you do finally check out… at 24-5-6-7-8% depending on which hue of govt is in charge.
You’re also obvs taxed on any rental profit too at your marginal rate, which can be 40%!
As to having cash sitting around and devaluing then, for example, you can currently earn 8-9% in an ISA based peer to peer property backed investment… which also demands very little personal input.
Anyways, take your money & make your choice. I don’t offer any financial advice, just sharing my views having spent over 20 yrs as a BTL landlord.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 30th May, 2024 @ 12:17

@Pete

Yeah, I did look through Labour-list. I'll cross that bridge if it materialises. As said, political parties don't exactly have a great track record of sticking to their pledges (Starmer in particular has already shown that), and it's a lot easier to talk about change than implementing it.

To be honest, selling is the least of my concerns.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 30th May, 2024 @ 12:31

@Borrieboy

I agree with you completely in regards to cashing out at some point. I'm definitely not opposing that. We're all at different stages in life, with different objectives, and that plays a vital role in our decision making.

I was more so addressing landlords selling up purely based on the prospect of reform because they're worried about sinking profits.

That, to me, feels counterintuitive (given the state of our wider economy).

I'm also not opposing other investments, I'm not "all in" property, I have diversified.

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John M Hughes 30th May, 2024 @ 12:51

I agree that it is dependant on what stage of life you are at.

I am nearly 70 and my wife wants us to sell all of our properties, as she doesn't want us to leave a fairly hefty sum to the government via Inheritance tax.

I have a considerable sum invested in our farmhouse and listed barn, which alone would propel us way over the threshold.

If you give it away to your children etc, then there is the seven year rule to contend with, so you would need to add that on to your age and the longer you leave it the chances are that you won't make it and end up with your benefactors having to pay tax on it at 40%.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 31st May, 2024 @ 10:05

Hi @John,

I'm 100% with you; all those factors, particularly age and children, should play a role in the decisions we make with our investments.

Obviously I can't account for everyone's circumstances, so I'm only speaking on the broader issue of landlords fleeing the market because they're fearful of reform.

In any case, sounds like you're a great spot, which is awesome - it just sounds like you have some strategic decisions to make.

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Grumpy 9th June, 2024 @ 07:10

Excellent news on the stay of execution. Let’s hope the next court are reasonable. Oh wait it’s Komrade Starmer.
Anyone remember the Labour Gov who raised taxes on “unearned income” ie Rent to ~97%.

Politics of envy is gaining speed, and the landlord is viewed as a Capitalist Overlord Ubergruppenfuhrer scumbag.

There are only about 430k landlords registered with the deposit protection system. Too few compared to millions of renters.
Taxing landlords out of existence is a vote winner for all parties. Landlords have no political support.

Maybe TheLandord should form a political party!

Good Luck

Grumpy
Ex Landlord with no Emoji

Now basking in the bright sunshine of 10-15% dividends all stuffed into tax free pensions and ISAs funded by property sales :-)

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Paul S 11th June, 2024 @ 12:43

That's good but im lucky enough never to have had a bad tenant so never needed to use this.
I have been a landlord with just one property and to me it makes no sense finaically to keep doing it.
With rental prices thru the roof and the extra income pushing me into the 40% tax bracket. I will be glad to move back into my house.

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