News & stories Homelessness Explained How the Renters' Reform Bill takes on Section 21 Did you know landlords can evict tenants without giving a reason? This is known as a Section 21 eviction, and when it is served, it can throw people into uncertainty and sometimes even into homelessness. It’s despicable. But soon, it'll be a thing of the past. What is Section 21? Section 21, also known as no-fault evictions, allow landlords to evict tenants with just eight weeks’ notice after their lease has expired. With the number of households renting privately doubling since 2001 to around 5 million in England and Wales, this issue is of pressing concern. Section 21 fuels home insecurity and homelessness, and what’s more, no-fault evictions notices were served to private renters as often as every 7 minutes between 2019 and 2022. Why Section 21 needs abolishing Section 21 keeps renters on edge. The unpredictability of Section 21 pushes tenants to accept anything from unliveable conditions to harassment from landlords, as they’re reluctant to speak up about issues with the property because of how easily landlords can evict them. It’s been found that a quarter of England’s private renters stay silent to their landlord about repair due to the threat of losing their home. When a Section 21 notice is served, it’s not easy for households to find somewhere else to live – especially in London. And with rents skyrocketing, many renters are forced to leave their area or settle for a substandard house because that’s all they can afford. What is the Renters’ Reform Bill? The Renters’ Reform Bill is hailed as the biggest change to the private rental sector for a generation, aiming to balance the power between renters and landlords. So how will the bill change things for renters? The main target is to axe Section 21. This will give more security to tenants so they can challenge poor practice and unfair rent increases without fear eviction. Unlike the social rented sector, there’s no minimum standard for private rental houses. This leaves landlords unaccountable when tenants live in dangerous, unfit homes. The Renters’ Reform Bill is set to change that by introducing a minimum housing standard to private rental properties for the first time. Other big changes that the Renters Reform Bill will bring are a cap on how many times a landlord can increase the rent. Rent increases will be limited to once per year, and landlords must give 2 months’ notice about a rent increase. All rental properties will also be under periodic tenancy – rolling by every month rather than forcing tenants into a fixed term contract. And lastly, bans on renting to families with children or those on benefits will be outlawed, and tenants will more easily be able to have pets in their home. Overall, the bill is looking to give more power to renters so they can exert their rights. Where is the bill now? The first reading of the bill took place on 17th May 2023, and has now started its journey to becoming law. No official date for when the bill will pass has been confirmed by the Government, but it’s estimated the Renters’ Reform Bill will come into law on 1st October 2024. ---------------------------------------- Single Homeless Project has been advocating for the Renters Reform Bill, and we’ll continue until we see real change. We know the urgency for action couldn’t be clearer. We need the Renters’ Reform Bill now. Everyone deserves a safe and stable place to call home.