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Responding to reports that the Government is planning to amend the Renters (Reform) Bill, National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) chief executive Ben Beadle said: “We have long accepted that the Government has a mandate to end the use of fixed term tenancies and no-fault repossessions.


“Our focus has, and continues to be, on developing a replacement system that is fair and workable for tenants and responsible landlords. This need not be a zero-sum game between the two”.

Beadle said the NRLA had consistently campaigned for the bill to balance the protections promised to tenants and the legitimate business needs of landlords to enable them to continue to provide rented homes.

“If the Government is considering amendments that would provide for assurances to landlords with a six-month minimum term and ensure confidence for all in the court process, then that balance would be struck.

“We now need to see these amendments published in full so that all parties can judge for themselves what is on the table and move on with debating the bill in public. The lack of progress and uncertainty about the future is destabilising and damaging for those living and working in the private-rented sector.”

Beadle added: “The cross-party housing select committee has argued that when fixed term tenancy agreements end, “tenants be unable to give two months’ notice to leave until they have been in a property for at least four months.” The Committee noted that: “This will give landlords the legal certainty of at least six months’ rent at the start of a tenancy.”

In addition,  he pointed out that the Law Society has warned that without investment for housing legal aid and the courts, the bill will not achieve its aims and may lead to an increase in backlogs and landlords and tenants alike will be unable to enforce their legal rights.

Homehold managing director Linz Darlington insisted the bill is suffering from both lack of time for scrutiny and the inclusion of highly divisive and technical topics.

“The bill has lacked scrutiny as it has gone through the commons, with the Government chastised for tabling 100 amendments in the last week, with limited time for these to be reviewed. It will be interesting to see the amendments the Lords make: considering the vested property interests it seems unfathomable that they’ll be less contentious or divided than those from the commons.”

Generation Rent chief executive Ben Twomey commented: “It is unacceptable for tenants to be treated as an afterthought around reforms which we were told would help us. We will not stand by while the new law to protect and empower renters is transformed into a Landlord’s Bill of Rights. If the government really is going to water down the Bill even further, England’s 12 million private renters deserve to know why.

He added: “In particular, weakening licensing schemes could compromise the safety of renters. These schemes give councils some of the strongest powers to tackle criminal landlords and sub-standard, dangerous homes. The plan to trap tenants in properties for six months, making it much more difficult for them to leave sub-standard or mis-sold homes, is another measure that undermines tenant welfare.

“The call to delay court run a judicial review into court reform means that the key promise first made five years ago by the government to renters – respite from the misery of Section 21 no-fault evictions – will be kicked firmly into the long grass.

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