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Renters Reform Bill pushed into the long grass?

It appears that the Renters Reform Bill – a key measure in the 2019 Conservative General Election manifesto – has been pushed into the long grass.

The pledge was for this Bill to include the scrapping of Section 21 eviction powers and the start of the concept of lifetime deposits transferable from one property to another when a tenant moves.

No date has been made available in Parliamentary business for the Bill to be introduced, although it was announced in the Queen’s Speech last December as being a measure that would be initiated in 2020.

However, housing minister Christopher Pincher has now told the Commons: “We will do that at the appropriate time when there is a sensible and stable economic and social terrain on which to do it.”

The Bill is one of dozens of proposed pieces of legislation to have been pushed back as Parliamentary and civil service time is increasingly occupied by Coronavirus and Brexit.

Labour housing spokeswoman Thangam Debbonaire opposes the delay and says: “The situation facing renters couldn’t be more urgent. Lifting the ban on evictions as we head into a second Covid spike is irresponsible and a betrayal of their promise that no renter will lose their home because of Coronavirus.

“Renters are being served Section 21 notices, leading to automatic evictions, as we speak. This legislation cannot wait.”

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter adds: “This pandemic has plunged over 300,000 private renters into arrears and brutally exposed the chronic insecurity of privately renting. With the evictions ban over and this deadly virus on the rise again, the government must give struggling renters the lifeline of emergency funding to clear Covid-arrears and stay in their homes.

“The government should be creating stability now by passing this legislation, not putting it off. It needs to urgently bring forward its Renters Reform Bill and honour its promise to scrap ‘Section 21’ no fault evictions. Otherwise, struggling renters across the country will feel betrayed as they continue to suffer.”

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