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Rental reforms announced: end of Section 21 and national landlord register

2-minute read

Conor Shilling

Conor Shilling

2 February 2022

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The government has announced details of major new rental market reforms as part of its levelling up plan.

Landlords will no longer be able to issue Section 21 evictions, while all rental properties will have to meet a minimum standard.

There are also proposals for a national landlord register, plus more fines and bans for rogue landlords.

Read on to find out details of the proposals, when they could be introduced, and how landlords could be affected.

What rental reforms are being proposed?

The measures to reform the rental market will only affect landlords in England.

They’re part of the government’s Levelling Up White Paper, published by Levelling Up Secretary Micheal Gove on 2 February 2022.

Here’s an overview of the proposals:

  • all private rental homes will have to meet a minimum standard (the Decent Homes Standard) for the first time ever
  • Section 21 evictions will be scrapped
  • a consultation on a national landlord register will be launched
  • there’ll be a crackdown on rogue landlords, with more fines and bans for repeat offenders

The government’s Levelling Up White Paper sets out 12 key ‘missions’ to be completed by 2030.

It pledges to reduce the number of non-decent rented homes by 50 per cent, with the biggest improvements in the lowest performing areas. It also wants to give renters a ‘secure path to ownership’.

What about the Renters’ Reform Bill?

This announcement comes ahead of the government’s long-awaited white paper on rental reforms, which is expected to set out the details of the Renters’ Reform Bill.

The rental reform white paper is due to be published in the coming weeks. It’s set to include details on proposals to end Section 21 evictions and introduce lifetime deposits for tenants.

It’s now unclear whether the government’s full scope for rental reform is included in the Levelling up White Paper, or if there’ll still be a white paper focusing solely on the rental market.

‘Proportionate and fit for purpose’ changes are needed

The government’s rental market reforms must be "proportionate, fit for purpose, and properly enforced", according to Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).

“Without this, criminal landlords will continue to undermine the reputation of the vast majority of responsible landlords doing the right thing.”

Beadle said that requiring private rental homes to meet the Decent Homes Standard may not be the right strategy for making sure tenants have access to safe and secure housing.

“This standard, designed for the social rented sector, does not reflect many of the differences between it and the private rented sector. This includes the types and age of properties in each,” he added.

The NRLA said it will work with the government to make sure any new rental sector standards don’t negatively impact landlords.

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When could rental reforms take place?

The government hasn’t given an indication of when the rental market reforms could take place.

Plans to end Section 21 evictions have been around since 2019, so this could be one of the first measures to be introduced.

The government has been carrying out a review of the Decent Homes Standard since November 2020, so it’s likely updates on this measure will coincide with the results of the review later this year.

Meanwhile, the proposal for a national landlord register will be consulted on first, so that could come into force further down the line.

More details are expected in the coming weeks. Keep an eye on our Knowledge centre for key updates.

More useful guides for landlords

How do you feel about the government’s plans to reform the rental market? Let us know in the comments below.

Photograph 1: BalanceFormCreative/

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Conor Shilling

Written by

Conor Shilling

Conor Shilling is a Copywriter at Simply Business with over two years’ experience in the insurance industry. A trained journalist, Conor has worked as a professional writer for 10 years. His previous experience includes writing for several leading online property trade publications. Conor specialises in the buy-to-let market, landlords, and small business finance.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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