6 things landlords need to know about the Renter’s Reform Bill
There was a lot of fanfare after the Renters’ Reform Bill got its first reading in Parliament earlier in May but despite the publicity, there is a long way to go before the Bill becomes law. There’s a strict process to follow, with opportunities for the contents to be amended, expanded or even removed. We’ve outlined what happens next and when we may expect the law to change.
1. MPs will debate the Bill in June.
The next step will take place during the week beginning 5th June 2023. This stage is called the second reading and it gives MPs the chance to debate the Bill’s finer details. It is expected either Housing Secretary Michael Gove or Housing Minister Rachel Maclean will chair the debate, with MPs from all parties able to voice their opinions.
2. Clauses could be added, amended or removed altogether.
After the second reading, the Bill is examined, line-by-line, clause-by-clause, by a specially convened committee of MPs, known as a Public Bill Committee. The committee will reflect the political composition of the entire House of Commons, so all views are represented, and there will be a committee chair, who is usually chosen for their experience in the subject. It’s at this stage that MPs’ proposed amendments to the Bill will be considered, decisions made on whether clauses should be removed and discussions on what could be added.
The reporting stage follows the second reading, then there’s a third reading in the House of Commons after that. These stages are exclusively devoted to any amendments tabled.
3. Lords, ladies and life peers can alter the course of the Bill.
For a Bill to become law, it also has to pass through the same stages in the House of Lords. Any amendments proposed by the House of Lords must be agreed by the House of Commons. There are frequently disagreements at this stage and the Bill can go back and forwards numerous times between the two houses before they both agree on a revised Bill. Quite often, it is this stage that takes the most time.
4. The King may have the final say.
Finally, Royal Assent needs to be given by the ruling monarch for a Bill to become law. While Queen Elizabeth II was politically neutral and never meddled with the passage of an Act, royal observers are withholding judgement about King Charles III as he is known for his strong views. The Renters’ Reform Bill may be one of the first the King has to give Royal Assent to but it is unlikely he will refuse.
5. Even after Royal Assent, the law won’t change immediately.
The nature of the Renters’ Reform Bill means landlords will need time to adjust. The Government will set a date after Royal Assent from which the law will come into force. There may not be one fixed date, either. For instance, the switch to periodic tenancies will be a two-stage process. Once the Bill passes into law, all new tenancies created will be periodic from day one. Existing fixed-term tenancies, however, will transition to periodic tenancies by a different set date further into the future, to allow for planning.
6. Expect changes in autumn 2024.
Although the duration of each stage detailed above is unknown, the process is estimated to take about 12 months. The Government passes new legislation as law only twice a year, on 1st April and the 1st October. Practically, the Renters’ Reform Bill may become law on 1st October 2024, with implementation in the months after. Landlords may not need to comply with the full set of law changes until 2025 but we await confirmed dates.
If you would like to know about the Renters’ Reform Bill in greater detail, please contact us today. We are already working with our landlords to plan and prepare for changes – can we also help you?
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