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Government introduces landmark reforms to deliver fairer private rented sector for tenants and landlords

landmark reforms to deliver fairer private rented

Eleven million tenants across England will benefit from safer, fairer and higher quality homes thanks to a once-in-a-generation overhaul of housing laws.

The Renters’ (Reform) Bill, introduced to Parliament today (17 May 2023), delivers the government’s 2019 manifesto commitment to abolish Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions which will empower renters to challenge poor landlords without fear of losing their home.

The new Bill also protects over 2 million landlords, making it easier for them to recover properties when they need to – so they can sell their property if they want to, move in a close family member, or when tenants wilfully do not pay rent. Notice periods will also be reduced where tenants have been irresponsible – for example breaching their tenancy agreement or causing damage to the property.

This builds on the strong progress this government has already made over the last decade to increase protections for tenants, including giving councils stronger powers to drive criminal landlords out of the market by introducing Banning Orders through the Housing and Planning Act 2016; and shielding tenants from excessive deposits and fees through the Tenant Fees Act 2019.

The reforms will strengthen powers to evict anti-social tenants, broadening the disruptive and harmful activities that can lead to eviction and making it quicker to evict a tenant acting anti-socially.

To ensure the new tenancy systems works for landlords and tenants, it will be introduced alongside a reformed courts process. For the minority of evictions that do end up in the courts, more of the process will be digitised – reducing delays.

A new Ombudsman will provide quicker and cheaper resolutions to disputes, while a new digital Property Portal will enable landlords to understand their obligations and help tenants make better decisions when signing a new tenancy agreement. This will give confidence to good landlords, while driving the criminal minority out of business.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove said:

Too many renters are living in damp, unsafe, cold homes, powerless to put things right, and with the threat of sudden eviction hanging over them.

This government is determined to tackle these injustices by offering a new deal to those living in the private rented sector; one with quality, affordability, and fairness at its heart.

Our new laws introduced to Parliament today will support the vast majority of responsible landlords who provide quality homes to their tenants, while delivering our manifesto commitment to abolish Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions.

This will ensure that everyone can live somewhere which is decent, safe and secure – a place they’re truly proud to call home.

Tenants will also be given the legal right to request a pet in their home, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse. Landlords will be able to require pet insurance to cover any damage to their property.

The government will also bring forward legislation as part of the Bill to:

  • Apply the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector for the first time, giving renters safer, higher quality homes and remove the blight of poor-quality homes in local communities. This will help deliver the government’s Levelling Up mission to halve the number of non-decent rented homes by 2030.
  • Make it illegal for landlords and agents to have blanket bans on renting to tenants in receipt of benefits or with children – ensuring no family is unjustly discriminated against when looking for a place to live.
  • Strengthen councils’ enforcement powers and introduce a new requirement for councils to report on enforcement activity – to help target criminal landlords.

The Bill is a key part of the government’s mission to level up across the country and follows the wider housing reforms in the Social Housing Regulation Bill and Building Safety Act. These address the systemic issues identified following the Grenfell Tower tragedy on improving the safety and quality of social housing and how tenants are treated by their landlords.

Martin Lewis, founder of said:

We have long needed a statutory single private rental Ombudsman – so I’m pleased to see it in the legislative plans. After all, disputes are often between two individuals – landlord and tenant – rather than between companies, so it can be very personal and difficult to sort. Crucially, it won’t be voluntary, all private landlords will be required to join the Ombudsman, and it will have legal authority to compel apologies, take remedial action and pay compensation.

Dan Wilson Craw, Acting Director, Generation Rent, said:

The Renters’ Reform Bill is a huge opportunity to improve the lives of the 11 million people who now rent from private landlords in England. Arbitrary Section 21 evictions make it impossible for tenants to put down roots and report problems about their home with confidence. Abolishing them will take away much of the stress of renting and improve communication and trust between tenants and landlords. The new Property Portal and Ombudsman have the potential to make it much harder for criminal landlords to operate.

These reforms wouldn’t be happening without the tireless campaigning of members of the Renters Reform Coalition and thousands of renters over many years. We look forward to reading the Bill and working with ministers and parliamentarians to make sure the legislation achieves what it sets out to do.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said:

We welcome the government’s pledge to ensure landlords can swiftly recover properties from anti-social tenants and those failing to pay their rent. Plans to digitise court hearings will also improve the speed at which legitimate possession cases are processed.

The NRLA will continue to work with the government to ensure the detail of the Bill is fair for responsible landlords and tenants alike.

Michael Webb, Head of Policy & Public Affairs, Battersea Cats & Dogs Home, said:

Tenants being unable to find anywhere to rent with their pet is sadly one of the most common reasons people bring their animals to Battersea. Not only will this Bill bring us one step closer to significantly reducing the number of dogs and cats we see being needlessly separated from their owners, it will also open up the many joys of pet ownership to millions of renters in the future. As this Bill now begins its journey through Parliament, we look forward to continuing to work with the Housing department, tenants and landlords to help ensure a fairer rental sector for pets and people alike.

Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns, Propertymark said:

Reforms to the private rented sector in England have been long awaited and the Bill will bring much needed clarity to letting agents, their landlords and tenants. Propertymark will support the UK government to ensure the specific details work in practice for those on the ground, whilst providing both security and fairness for both parties of the rental agreement. It is also important implementation is well planned and managed as these reforms are significant for the sector.

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Purplebricks sold to rival for £1 after senior team throw in the towel


Purplebricks, which at one stage was used by thousands of landlords to manage their properties, has announced that its assets and business are to be sold to rival Strike for £1, pending approval by its shareholders.

Any funds remaining in the firm – some £5.5 million – are to be kept back to pay off any liabilities excluded from the deal and to reimburse its shareholders. Purplebricks will continue as an estate agency but under the ownership of Strike.

This announcement marks the end of a process started in February during which Purplebricks senior team have sought to either raise more funding or find a buyer for the estate agency.

It also marks one of the UK’s biggest corporate failsures. Purplebricks at one point claimed to offer both home sellers and landlords a new model of estate agency that offered the same service as a high street firm but for considerably less money.

This proved harder to achieve and despite early success in 2015 to 2018 and a City valuation of some £1.5 billion, the company has faltered including a high-profile scandal in 2021 for failing to lodge deposits on behalf of tenants properly.


Today’s announcement reveals that CEO Helena Marston is to resign from the company as will the rest of the board except the CFO Dominique Highfield and it will exit the stock market and cancel all its shares.

“The Directors, taking into account the comprehensive exploration of sale options via the Formal Sale Process, the current trading performance of the Company, the liquidity position of the Company, the near term expiry of a key funding partner relationship and the potential challenges in securing, in the short term, the future ownership of the Group, have unanimously concluded that it is in the best interests of the Company to proceed with Proposed Sale,” the announcement says.

“Accordingly, the Directors intend to unanimously recommend Shareholders to vote in favour of the Resolutions to be proposed at the General Meeting as they have irrevocably undertaken to do in respect of their own beneficial holdings and the shareholdings in which they are interested amounting, in aggregate, to 19,402,865 Ordinary Shares, representing approximately 6.3% of the Company’s issued share capital.”

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Renters Reform Bill – just a delay or a major rethink?

The government has back-tracked on its decision to publish the long-awaited Renters Reform Bill this week.The Mirror newspaper reports that “procedural issues” have been blamed for the delay in introducing the Bill to Parliament.The Bill was first pledged by the Conservative administration back in 2019 and only last week Housing Secretary Michael Gove told Sky News that it would, at last, see the light of day this week, just days after the Coronation.
But the Mirror this morning reports: “The government had vowed to finally publish the Renters Reform Bill this week, more than four years after the Tories first promised to scrap no fault evictions. But the long-awaited overhaul has been postponed due to ‘procedural issues’.”Over the Bank Holiday weekend speculation was mounting that Tory backbenchers were unhappy with the pro-tenant, anti-landlord sentiment contained in the proposed legislation.Another newspaper – the online i – used unnamed sources and reported: “A group of Conservative backbenchers – some of whom are landlords and, according to Westminster sources, reportedly include the former chairman of national estate agency chain Hunters, Kevin Hollinrake – are unhappy about the pro-renter legislation and have been lobbying against it.”Today’s Mirror – a Labour-supporting publication – also carries a pledge from shadow housing secretary Lisa Nandy to introduce more far reaching reforms of the private rental sector.Nandy tells the paper: “Our message to the government is clear. So not backtrack on the promises you have made, do not drop any commitments, do not roll over to your backbenchers again.”A Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities spokesman says: “We are absolutely committed to delivering a fairer deal for renters.

“We will bring forward legislation very shortly, which will include a ban on ‘no fault’ evictions, so that all tenants have greater security in their homes and are empowered to challenge poor conditions.

“We are also introducing a Decent Homes Standard for the Private Rented Sector for the first time ever which will make sure privately rented homes are safe and decent.”

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Leasehold reform ‘will not be in King’s speech’ says former housing minister

greenhalgh airbn tax

Former housing minister Lord Greenhalgh has expressed doubts that leasehold reforms will be included in the King’s Speech this autumn.

In an interview with Leasehold Knowledge, he said that despite being very complex legislation, the background work had been done.

“Even if you ran out of time and you weren’t able to get the Bill through Parliament, at least there’s something that can go through the pre-legislative scrutiny, so you get a better Bill at the end of it. I am just sceptical of getting it through both houses in time.”

However, he said the good news for leaseholders was that every major political party wanted it to happen. “It’s now become above party. Everyone is in favour of reform.”

Radical reforms

The government is preparing to bring in legislation which includes reforming the process of enfranchisement valuation used to calculate the cost of extending a lease or buying the freehold, ditching rules that prevent owners from buying the freehold to their property if a small part of the building is given over to commercial use, and allowing owners of leasehold houses to be able to extend their leaseholds by 990 years at a zero ground rent.

Speaking about rules limiting the number of landlords affected by the cladding scandal who face the full remediation bills for their block, Lord Greenhalgh admitted he would have liked to see the threshold set higher to protect smaller landlords and those with retirement properties.

“We were worrying about this when the Building Safety Act was passing through the Lords and there was a bit of ping pong around the number of properties, and we increased the number of properties from two to three,” he said.

“You always finish your time in government feeling that you’ve done as much as you can in the time that you had. And then you realize that there are areas that still remain unresolved.”

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