Renters Reform Bill: No-fault eviction ban 'abolishes section 21 in name only' warn campaigners

No-fault evictions have become a hot button issue in the Renters Reform Bill (Alamy/PA)
No-fault evictions have become a hot button issue in the Renters Reform Bill (Alamy/PA)

The Renters Reform Bill received its third reading in the House of Commons today, with MPs clashing over the issue of no-fault evictions.

Originally the Bill set out to ban section 21, where landlords can evict tenants for any reason with two months notice.

Amendments to the bill, which would delay the ban until court reforms were made to ensure landlords greater protections, were debated today ahead of the final vote.

“The Renters Reform Bill will create a fairer private rented sector for both landlords and tenants,” said Jacob Young, Under Secretary of State for Housing.

“The Bill will abolish section 21, bringing new decency standards and giving England’s 11 million tenants more certainty of secure and healthy homes,” he added.

“Alongside abolishing section 21, we are also strengthening and expanding landlord possession grants, including stronger protections against anti social behaviour. This, combined with our reforms to create a modern court system, will ensure that landlords retain confidence in getting properties back when they need to, safeguarding their investment.”

Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton, said the move demonstrated “blatent concessions to the significant numbers of Conservative MPs sitting behind him who are landlords who have been gifted what amounts to an indefinite delay to ban no-fault evictions”.

Young responded by insisting: “We’re bringing forward this bill today to abolish section 21,”

“A system that doesn’t work for landlords will not benefit tenants,” he added.

Ahead of the debate, the Renters Reform Coalition warned that the Bill had failed renters.

“The Bill has been watered down again and again by the Government, with several rounds of damaging concessions to backbench MPs that have fundamentally weakened it,” the campaign group said in a statement.

“The result of all the government’s backtracking is that we have now have a bill that abolishes section 21 in name only – there is no guarantee it would ever fully abolish section 21, and even then the new tenancy system set to replace it will be little better.

“This legislation is intended to give the impression of improving conditions for renters, but in fact it preserves the central power imbalance at the root of why renting in England is in crisis.”

The Government first proposed a ban on section 21 in 2019, but the Renters Reform Bill has been continuously delayed.

A 2023 report from Shelter found private renters in London who complained to their landlords about issues with their homes were twice as likely to be served an eviction notice.

City Hall reported that almost 300 renters in the capital face section 21 notices each week, with London accounting for a third of all no-fault evictions in England.

London is in the grips of a private rental crisis, with landlords hiking rents 11 per cent in just one year, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.