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Guide to the Judicial Reforms in the Renters Reform Bill

The Renters (Reform) Bill represents a significant legislative endeavour aimed at revamping the private rental sector. Among its primary objectives is the eradication of Section 21 “no fault” evictions.

However, in October 2023, the government announced that the abolishment of section 21 would not proceed “until reforms to the justice system are in place.” They emphasised that section 21 would only be abolished once “sufficient progress has been made to enhance the efficiency of the courts.”

This blog will discuss the challenges within the judicial system and the potential changes that may be introduced by the government.

  1. What are the existing problems with the court process?

In September 2023, Property Industry Eye reported that landlords were facing significant delays due to funding cuts and the aftermath of the pandemic, leaving them frustrated. The government acknowledged in October 2023 that the court system requires some improvement. While most tenancies do not typically require court intervention, the system needs to function as “smoothly and efficiently as possible” when disputes arise.

Proposals for court system changes were initially outlined in the 2022 report, ‘A Fairer Private Rented Sector.’ However, it wasn’t until October 2023 that the government explicitly prioritised this over implementing Section 21.

2. Why has the government decided to focus on the court process?

Numerous reports in the press have highlighted that backbench MPs, particularly from the Conservative party, were discontent with the proposed elimination of section 21, largely due to many of them being landlords themselves.

By shifting their focus to court reforms, the government has made a substantial concession to win the support of backbench MPs.

3. What alterations are needed in the court process?

The government has identified critical areas that must be addressed before the abolishment of Section 21, including:

  • Streamlining and digitizing more court processes to simplify use for landlords.
  • Exploring mechanisms for courts to prioritize cases involving antisocial behaviour, possibly mandating that tenancy agreements include clauses allowing eviction for such behaviour.
  • Enhancing bailiff recruitment and retention, reducing administrative burdens to prioritize possession.
  • Providing early legal advice and better guidance for tenants.

The information in this post is valid to the best of our knowledge on the date of posting. It is advised that you seek independent advice based on your individual circumstances. 

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