It’s being forecast that there are likely to be major changes made to the Renters Reform Bill during its next stage as it progresses through Parliament.
It passed Second Reading last Monday and now goes to the Committee Stage, the third of five stages in the Commons.
The Committee Stage typically begins within a fortnight of the Second Reading and this will be formally timetabled - a start date should be known shortly.
At Committee Stage it will take evidence from external experts and those with strong opinions on rental issues, and amendments are selected by the chair of the committee: only members of the committee can vote on whether to accept or reject changes.
A statement from the National Residential Landlords Association over the weekend says: “It is likely that we will witness significant alterations to the Bill during Committee Stage. The NRLA will provide evidence to ensure that changes proposed do not undermine landlord confidence further and that the Bill as amended supports responsible landlords.”
Once the committee is sitting, amendments proposed by MPs to the Bill will be published daily and reprinted as a marshalled list of amendments for each day the committee discusses the Bill. Every clause in the Bill is agreed to, changed or removed from the Bill, although this may happen in some less contentious cases without debate.
Labour has made it clear it will be pushing for measures that go beyond those already in the Bill, particularly on an expansion of rent repayment orders; amending possession grounds to protect tenants against ‘no fault’ evictions; and the outlawing of blanket bans on landlords accepting tenants with children or who are in receipt of benefits.
For its part, the government has made clear that it will not enact the flagship policy within the Bill - the abolition of Section 21 eviction powers - until a reform of the court possession process has been enacted.
The Committee Stage is due to be completed by Tuesday December 5.
If the Bill has been amended the Bill is reprinted before its next stage, called the Report Stage. This is when the Bill returns to the floor of the House of Commons for its report stage, where the amended Bill can be debated and further amendments proposed.
The House of Commons rises for its Christmas recess on December 19, with MPs returning on January 8 2024.
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