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Will the Renters Reform Bill REALLY reduce homelessness?

Recent data from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show that 24,260 households served a valid Section 21 notice were due council help in 2022/23. 

If the Renters (Reform) Bill becomes law, tenants will no longer receive ‘no fault’ eviction notices as Section 21 is due to be abolished, meaning all evictions would take place under a ground specified in Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. 

Politicians and industry figures have warned that this could well lead to an increase in homelessness. 


Currently, tenants evicted under Section 21 have the automatic right to assistance from local councils. The government has confirmed that this will not be carried over to Section 8 evictions, saying, “there is no need for the legislation to have a unique requirement around eviction notices”. 

Labour’s Angela Rayner, Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing, Communities & Local Government criticised the issue in a recent debate on the Renters (Reform) Bill, saying: “the Bill removes that right to immediate help… [which] could lead to a huge spike in homelessness [that loophole] must be closed.”

Research from PayProp, an automated rental payment and client accounting specialist, shows that the three most common reasons for lettings professionals issuing a Section 21 notice will also be eviction grounds under the proposed reforms to Section 8. The company’s recent Renters (Reform) Bill survey report names them as: 

- The landlord wanting to sell the property; 

- Rent arrears; 

- The landlord wanting to move themselves or a close family member into the property.

As a result, says PayProp UK’s managing director Neil Cobbold, the removal of Section 21 is unlikely to bring about a big reduction in tenant evictions – even if there is court capacity to process all of the evictions now falling to Section 8.

In addition to not being immediately entitled to council help and being put through longer eviction procedures under the courts system, tenants evicted for rent arrears under Section 8 will face a more difficult time finding properties than if they were evicted under Section 21.

According to the most recent English Private Landlord Survey “more than four fifths of landlords (84%) were unwilling to let to tenants with a history of rent arrears.” Currently, tenants in rent arrears evicted under Section 21 may not have a money order judgment against them to repay the rent, so a future landlord may not know if the tenant has a history of arrears. This will now be a matter of public record.

Cobbold continued: “Housing campaigners have put a lot of the industry’s ills on Section 21. I fear they will be disappointed when the reforms come to pass and we don’t see a significant reduction in homelessness.

“Our research shows that Section 21 is being used because it was the easiest way of getting the property back for the landlord, but that means that the tenant could move on without the stigma of a court judgment for arrears or antisocial behaviour. What’s going to happen after the Renters (Reform) Bill is that those reasons for eviction will be clearly on the tenant’s record. When they look to get a new privately rented property, with supply outstripping demand, the vast majority of English landlords are not going to rent their property to a person with an at-fault eviction on their record.

“Ensuring a stable private rented sector is key. Landlords need confidence that they can continue to invest in the sector and regain possession of their properties efficiently through the courts if needed. If landlords leave en masse, then no amount of rental reform will bring down homelessness.”

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    One wonders if all the additional controls on Landlords, can be legally justified when they are likely to increase homelessness, not reduce it.

    The current Labour policy to immediately abolish Section 21 on taking power will undoubtedly increase homelessness as landlords accelerate their plans now to leave the private rental sector.

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    A very logical and well written article.

    Far too little thought has been put into what happens after eviction if Section 21 is abolished. The only people to benefit from losing Section 21 are the Local Authorities (and by extension maybe the government and tax payers in the short term). Temporary housing is costing a fortune.

    The losers in scrapping Section 21 are tenants and society as a whole. Where are people who are evicted for non payment or ASB actually going to live? It's no good saying "Not my problem". Won't it put far more people at risk of squatters or mugging (for hotel money)? Will it just result in shifting a cost from one budget to another, while making the general public less safe? Desperate people do desperate things.

    Landlords will either sell up or adapt and become more risk adverse. Most tenants are actually thoroughly decent people who don't get evicted. I can certainly see landlord references for ex tenants becoming far more in depth and thorough.

    In these times of rental shortages we need a system that evicts bad tenants quickly but we need to think about where they go next. If there is anything discretionary about the process the real danger is Judges won't grant evictions if they know a cardboard box is the person's next home.

    Even if we don't care what happens to a bad tenant who gets evicted we probably should care about what happens to a genuinely good tenant. There is a rental shortage, which means even the most gold plated tenant has no certainty of finding anywhere suitable. With interest rates too high to make anything stack at a sensible rent landlords aren't buying much at the moment. Build to rent seems to have slowed down with various developments being plagued with contractors going bust.

    Before Section 21 is abolished the government needs to ensure the Courts have capacity to process all fault based evictions within 8 weeks of application and ensure there is something a bit more substantial than a cardboard box for evicted tenants to move onto. Something weather tight and sanitary but maybe undesirable enough for people to do their best to avoid a fault based eviction.

    Maybe a certain level of assistance for the genuinely blameless needs to be provided?

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    In terms of what existing tenants can do if asked to leave, there is the possibility of staying in a hotel. My intention is not to advertise but I was looking at the prices of a very smart large Premier Inn hotel in the suburbs of London next to an underground station and the price at the time for a double room for two persons was £42 a night. This obviously includes utilities, wifi etc and there is no council tax to pay and somebody will change your bed and clean everything. You also have all the other services of the hotel - and there is a fridge in the room.

    That added up to only £1260 for 30 nights which is not expensive for London and could well be less than they are currently paying in rent.


    Ellie - you're kind of right but there's more to it than just a roof and a bed for most tenants. They need to eat and most hotel rooms don't have any kind of cooking facilities or much in the way of refrigeration.
    They need to do laundry and there are very few launderettes these days. Those that do exist are expensive and time consuming.
    Most of them have personal possessions and furniture that would need to go into storage (another expense).
    Premier Inns are often far more expensive outside London. My local ones will only allow a booking of up to 10 days and are around £700 for those 10 days. So £2100 for 30 days. LHA for a one bedroom flat is £570 a month.


    Jo - that is interesting that your Premier Inn is so expensive. It could also be the case that prices rise towards/over the Christmas period. £1260 for 30 nights is actually about the same amount as the LHA for somebody with a one bedroom entitlement in the area in which I let. Premier Inn also offer long stay rates which could be cheaper? I don't know though about that.

    Of course, you are right that there are a number of drawbacks to hotel living.

    I was just thinking what I would do if I were in the position of a young couple who had been asked to leave a fully furnished flat and found that I couldn't find a flat at a comparable rent to that which I had been paying.

    I've been talking with my own elderly relatives about permanent hotel living.

    I remember when I was a little girl going on holiday to the South Coast with my parents. We sometimes stayed in 4* or 5* hotels, and there were always very elderly people who lived in them permanently. It suited them because they had three very good meals a day and the services of a hotel. Some of them were very old, and hotel staff would assist them to sit down at their table in the dining room. I wouldn't mind ending up like that myself - no property maintenance at all, no cleaning, no cooking etc - and not a depressing environment either.


    We've just provided great examples of why it needs to be recognised the PRS isn't a uniform situation. Every region is different in numerous ways. Housing stock, infrastructure, wages, etc.

    Living in a hotel in London may be a very cost effective housing solution for certain tenant types. Outside London it would be incredibly expensive for the identical tenant type.

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    Angelia Raynor, Was recently asked how Labour would solve the Housing Crisis and she said Labour would build more social Housing . Even She must realise that will take decades.

    Could it be That Labour intend to take our properties. A form of Right to Buy for private tenants.


    It is difficult to know what they are thinking and planning.

    Have they thought through the consequences of saying that they will abolish Section 21 immediately on taking power?

    Have they worked out how long it will take to build a huge amount more of social housing?


    Angela Raynor says she is "soft left" which I think is associated with the Tribune group who believe in social ownership so that assets (our properties) are recognized to be in the possession of society as a whole rather than individual members or groups within it.

    Doesn't bode well for landlords.

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    Ellie Edwards
    Do you think that feckless woman, Angela Rayner, has a brain cell devoted to thought !


    Edwin, I think she is seeing things only from the tenants' perspectives, and that is the major problem with her reasoning.

    If she also put herself in the place of a landlord then her policies might well be successful. The landlords have paid for their properties and therefore own them. It is a big deal to interfere with the rights of an owner of any type of property. You can't do that legally unless it is in everyones' best interests and then you can't go too far or your actions become illegal. If she makes the situation untenable for all landlords, they will all sell before it is too late to do that.

    Many of us are past retirement age and even if you are a youngish landlord, there is still a great deal of stress attached to the job, so it doesn't take much more pressure for us to sell. Massively increasing homelessness by collapsing the private rental sector is not in anyone's best interests.

    If this Government or a future Government wanted to reduce homelessness they would be wise to reduce interference in landlords' properties and their businesses, not increase it.

    She may also not be considering the huge amount of tax that we all pay. There won't be any money for ambitious building plans if everyone stops investing and starts spending everything they have.


    If she has I've a good idea where it is


    I don't think she believes in individuals owning property; she believes in collective ownership. Her faction of the Labour Party disagrees with the Conservative tendencies of the right wing of the Labour Party.


    @ Ellie, I thought soft left meant they were a lefty and soft in the head.


    That was a logical inference Al.

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    I see in the news today Suella Braverman wants to restrict tents in the cities. Even the homeless are being picked on.


    We should be able to give people something better than tents. There seem to be a number of old vacant hospitals which would at least provide better shelter on an emergency basis

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    Ellie, "collapsing the rental private sector" is exactly what Angela Rayner has indirectly in her mind. She has not got an ounce of brain to see any wood from the trees. Her brain cannot see beyond the landlord charging high rent. Lots of building work going to happen according to her but she has no clue where the funding is coming from or how much it would cost and when it will come into fruition. She seems to live in a world of her own, where all landlords property will be seized by force at below market rates. In addition to building new stock, the local authorities need to be funded for buying properties from willing LL's at a market rates and used for social housing. However, it is quite likely that a lot of housing stock is in areas where there are middle class families, who may not like social housing neighbours such as asylum seekers or druggist or single mothers with different partners coming in and out. The huge problem also exist in rehabilitation and educating people to get better and be responsible adults and have jobs, rather than hanging around towns, being unemployed and nothing to do but cause problems in the neighbourhood. Angela Rayner and other politicians need to look at how people can get back into employment and be self respecting individuals. Housing needs will increase as the govt is not building sufficient housing and year by year, students leaving universities need housing, single mothers are multiplying. Why would single mothers be allowed to have 3 to 5 children with different partners? Why there is no reform for these circumstances. Why should funding come from our taxes? Is it because the charities support them and these single mothers not earning money needs society to pay for them from their taxes. Bring back the old law where single mothers with more than 2 children, should be forced to give up other children they cannot finance, so they are trained and get employment. They will gain confidance and also likely to ensure their daughters are brought to understand importance of education and work. We need more people in employment and into housing. We have been carried away with charities too long. There are proper homeless charities who help in social housing. I have rented one of my properties to such charity at about 50% of the market rent for the last 7 years. They provide accommodation to people who are working but do not earn a lot. They are charged a small rent by the charity and some UC, which pays directly to them. They also get funding from the council, other organisations, individuals. They are certainly not like shelter or Generation Rant, vwho can only rant for personal gain. The homeless charity in my area has an overworked manager, with earnings more like about £40k, not £150k. I do not believe Nationwide helps them, as they are not making big noise in media. Locally they are known.


    Some interesting ideas.

    My solution would be for Local Authorities and Social Housing providers to focus on building retirement housing (so people could downsize and free up family size housing).
    Also student style housing for teenagers who need to get out of the family home. Currently the main escape routes are pregnancy or crime. Avoid the need to get pregnant and offer a better alternative which for many would lead to employment.
    A combination of the above would take a lot of pressure off the Social family housing supply within a reasonable timeframe


    Vibha, you have been very kind to rent one of your houses at a low rent to a charity for seven years. You have helped a large number of people without much money that way.

    Those are good ideas, Jo. It would be wonderful if the State could build suitable housing for people coming up to retirement age where there was a restaurant on site, cinema rooms and available care when needed. They need to be bright and cheerful developments which are very well designed.

    And brilliant too, if there could be modern, safe, smart accommodation for young people who don't have family support. There could perhaps be suitable educational facilities on site which could provide teaching in conjunction with apprenticeships etc. In terms of financing the development, perhaps there could be a private-public partnership. Companies like Centrica are always training apprentices.

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    The Renters Reform Bill will continue to make people Homeless as now, everyone knows that, it must be what the Government wants otherwise why are they doing it, the World and the crows knows it’s true. People talk about funding and Build loads more Social Housing with what ? the Country has gone from a trillion in debt to £2.5 trillion and that’s a low figure. Every man woman & child owes £36k it has been said don’t know why they count me I’am always putting in the pot.
    Yes its a Disaster scrap it now.


    I am not sure if the Labour Party is going along with the Renters Reform Legislation. They have their own plans which start with the immediate abolition of Section 21 as soon as they get into power - and probably also rent controls.

    I keep putting more and more money in "the pot" too.


    @ Ellie, they will probably push through emergency legislation, backdated of course, to prevent landlords selling from the date of the election. One of mine should, fingers crossed, be sold Easter 2024.


    I think you are right, AL, that Labour is going to be dangerously radical, but the Tory ideas have been pretty dreadful, too.

  • David Saunders

    Angie will crucify landlords when she gets the chance and outlawing Section 21 within the first 100days will just be the beginning, no doubt with the use of emergency powers all evictions will be banned from day 1, swiftly followed by rent controls/freeze so anyone unlucky enough or negligent to still have property rented out at that stage should be prepared for a 50% plus reduction on its value with the only likely purchaser being the then lifetime sitting tenants that by then will have the added bonus of being able to pass on the tenancy to children after death as per previous to introduction of section 21 in the 1980s.


    She said in her interview with LBC (on Property 118) that she would outlaw Section 21 immediately on taking over.

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    David Suanders, unforunately I think you are correct.

  • Matthew Payne

    Things that will be reducing are landlords, supply, choice and availability. Those increasing will be rents, homelessness, social housing, waiting lists & bankrupt councils.

  • Peter  Roberts

    Will the Renters Reform Bill reduce Homelessness?
    There is more chance of Hell Freezing Over and people being able to Knit Fog.

    Government, Councils and now Shelter have made sure of that.

    PRS LLs are selling up in there droves and can’t wait to get the hell out of the game.
    There are No properties available through Councils anymore.

    We looked after the rental market very well but the constant aggravation from Government and Councils have ruined it.
    Families are now living in TENTS outside my Councils Office as nowhere to live.
    So now it’s down to Government and Councils to sort it all out.


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