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Queen’s Speech contains only vague commitments to rental reform

Help for more people to own their own home ‘whilst enhancing the rights of those who rent’ was promised in the Queen’s Speech today.

Setting out the Government’s legislative programme for the next session of Parliament, and delivered by Prince Charles, the speech did not mention the expected Renters’ Reform Bill by name.

Instead, in a speech concerned mainly with economic recovery from the Covid pandemic and ‘levelling up’, there was only a vague promise to enhance the rights of renters. This will be a disappointment to the likes of Shelter and the Renters Reform Coalition (see below) which had been pressing for a more robust commitment to rental reforms.

Other property related promises in the speech included new laws to modernise the planning system, along with measures to outlaw ground rent for new leasehold properties. 

There was also a Building Safety Bill promised ‘to ensure that the tragedies of the past are never repeated’. 

  • A coalition of 33 tenant interest groups has petitioned the Government to announce a Renters’ Reform Bill in today’s Queens Speech.

Members of the Renters Reform Coalition took their demands for an ‘end to unfair evictions for good in 2022’ to Downing Street this week, handing in a letter urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to act.

‘The government has been committed to abolishing Section 21 evictions, whereby private landlords can evict tenants without needing a reason, since April 2019, but renters are still waiting for the changes to be passed into law’, they said.

‘Three years on from this government’s first commitment, private renters up and down the country are relying on you to fulfil your promise of a Renters’ Reform Bill and make 2022 the year unfair evictions end for good. With the rising cost of living, additional pressure is being placed on renters of all ages and backgrounds. Rapidly rising rents are squeezing household budgets and pushing ordinary people further from the dream of home ownership. Until section 21 is repealed, renting families live in fear that requests for repairs could be met with an eviction that uproots their lives and adds further financial strain. As outlined in the Levelling Up White Paper, the private rented sector has almost doubled in size in the past decade. Yet, one in eight privately rented homes in England pose a threat to tenants’ health, and the National Audit Office recently found that reforms to date have not been effective in ‘ensuring the sector is consistently fair for renters’. The Renters’ Reform Bill is a golden opportunity to fix these issues, essential to levelling up prosperity across the country’.

The Renters Reform Coalition includes the likes of Shelter, Citizens Advice, Advice 4 Renters, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Camden Federation of Private Tenants and Generation Rent.