Rental reforms edge closer – what’s the latest for landlords?


The Renters’ Reform Bill cleared the House of Commons on 24 April, almost a year after it was published in May 2023.

This means the bill – which includes the proposal to abolish Section 21 evictions – is now making its way through the House of Lords as it edges closer to becoming law.

Read on to find out about the latest amendments to rental reforms and what they mean for landlords, plus whether any new laws could come into force before the next general election.

Heavily amended Renters’ Reform Bill clears House of Commons

After a lengthy delay of almost five months, the report stage and third reading of the Renters’ Reform Bill took place on Wednesday 24 April.

MPs spent four hours discussing over 200 proposed amendments to the original version of the bill, which had been criticised for being too ‘pro-tenant’ by some politicians.

Many of the bill’s key proposals, described as the biggest shake-up of rental housing law in 30 years, made it through the House of Commons. These include:

  • stopping landlords from having blanket bans on renting to those with children or who are on benefits
  • introducing the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector
  • giving tenants a legal right to ask to have pets in their property
  • ending Section 21 evictions (albeit with a range of caveats)
  • introducing a rental sector ombudsman and national rental property portal

Key changes to rental reforms landlords need to know about

Many of the proposed amendments were approved during the report stage and third reading of the Renters’ Reform Bill.

The most significant change for landlords relates to the proposal to end Section 21 evictions. In the new version of the bill, this headline policy won’t be introduced until the county court system has been assessed by the Lord Chancellor.

This means that even if the bill becomes law this year, it’s likely to be some time before the rules around Section 21 evictions are changed.

Another key amendment is that a tenant will have to live in a property for a minimum of six months before being able to serve notice, essentially introducing a minimum six-month term.

The original bill was set to allow tenants to give notice to quit their tenancy with two months’ notice at any time.

Other amendments include:

What happens to rental reforms in the House of Lords?

The bill will is now passing through the House of Lords, where it will go through a similar process of:

  • first reading (completed on 1 May)
  • second reading (scheduled for 15 May)
  • committee stage
  • third reading and report stage

If the House of Lords proposes any changes to the draft law, they’ll have to be agreed by the House of Commons. This back and forth process could delay introduction of the bill further.

Once both houses have agreed on the final wording, it can receive Royal Assent and become law.

Will rental reforms become law before the general election?

The big question is whether rental reforms will become law before the next general election, something which was promised by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, as recently as February.

The general election must take place before the end of January 2025, although it’s currently anticipated to be in autumn this year.

If the bill manages to become law before the election, most of the provisions will come into effect on the ‘commencement date’, which is likely to be at least six months after Royal Assent.

The assessment of the court system by the Lord Chancellor is also expected to delay key proposals such as the abolition of Section 21 evictions. Other proposals, such as the introduction of a Decent Homes Standard, could be implemented separately but are still unlikely to come into force until later in 2025 at the earliest.

It’s also worth noting that any new laws are likely to apply to new tenancies first before being extended to existing tenancies.

You can track the progress of the Renters’ Reform Bill here and keep an eye on our Knowledge centre for updates on rental reforms.

What do you think about the amended version of the Renters’ Reform Bill? Let us know in the comments below.

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Conor Shilling

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

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