Today in Parliament there will be the second reading of the Renters (Reform) Bill. This Bill is a window of opportunity to reset the relationship between tenants and landlords, and is vital for the 11 million renters England and the 36% of constituents in Manchester Gorton who are private renters.
Private renters have been subject to ever increasing insecurity with the rising cost of living and inflationary pressures. Tenants are in desperate need of a fairer and more affordable Private Rented Sector.
It has been four years since the Tories promised to end section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions. Yet, renters across Manchester Gorton and beyond are being served with these evictions daily.
The Renter’s Reform Bill had its first reading in May earlier this year and there has been a concerning delay in bringing the Second Reading of this Bill forward. Since the Government announced the legislation, over 70,000 households have missed out on vital protections and have been unfairly evicted. The Tories have been dragging their feet introducing this legislation and this has had a damaging knock-on effect for families across the country.
Concerningly, important issues have been left out the Bill including the requirement that privately rented homes meet the Decent Homes Standard and provisions to increase Councils’ investigative and enforcement powers.
There are also several loopholes within the Bill that concern me. For example, renters remain only protected for the first six-months of their tenancy and are only entitled to receive two-months’ notice for eviction.
Regarding rent increases, tenants would only appeal a rent increase that they think is too high via a Tribunal, which remains costly and time consuming for many households.
Most worryingly, this Bill removes the right to immediate help if served with a possession notice. This Bill urgently needs a replacement of the right to assistance in the absence of Section 21 to avoid tenants who are served with possession notices from being made homeless without support.
The need to reform renters’ rights is vital to my constituents. This Bill is a reasonable starting point but will require significant amendment to be acceptable. To move the Bill to the committee stage where amendments can be made, I will be supporting the Bill second reading. I will keep a close eye on further developments in the House.