Knock, Knock, Who’s Still Not There?
The second reading of the Renters’ Reform Bill takes place on Monday 23 October 2023. Will this take us one step closer to enactment? After last week’s events, seemingly not …
Apprentice Solicitor Molly Clapham gives us a further update.
On 20 October 2023, the Government published its response to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee’s Fifth Report of Session 2022-23, ‘Reforming the Private Rented Sector’.
The second reading of the Bill is to take place on Monday 23 October 2023 and will represent the first opportunity for MPs to debate its principles.
Those following our articles on the Renters’ Reform Bill will be aware that it proposes, amongst other things, to abolish the so-called section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction process.
The Bill has already come under fire from landlords and tenants alike, especially given its lack of progress. In a further stumbling block, the Government has now said that there can be no enactment absent reform of the court system.
The Government’s response explains that:
Implementation of the new system will not take place until we judge sufficient progress has been made to improve the courts. That means we will not proceed with the abolition of section 21, until reforms to the justice system are in place.
The target areas for improvement are said to include:
- digitising more of the court process to make it simpler and easier for landlords to use
- exploring the prioritisation of certain cases, including antisocial behaviour
- improving bailiff recruitment and retention and reducing administrative tasks so bailiffs can prioritise possession enforcement; and
- providing early legal advice and better signposting for tenants, including to help them find a housing solution that meets their needs.
What does this mean for our clients?
Sadly, the response only tells court users what they already know about the civil justice system. That said, the recognition should be taken as a positive; there appears to be a commitment to improvement.
In the meantime, it seems the abolition of the section 21 regime will not come about until the Ministry of Justice has brought about effective reform (which was identified as being a special fast track scheme for landlords). One would expect this to take a while – at best it is a project with no date attached – the Labour party has already said that it could take years.
Continued uncertainty makes it difficult for landlords to plan for the future. It seems the only thing that is certain right now is that nothing will be changing for a while!
Greenhalgh Kerr will continue to monitor progress (or lack thereof) and ensure that our housing clients are kept up to date with any developments. As always, watch this space!