The Renters Renters Reform Bill was published in May 2023 and is supposedly due to hit the statute book in 2024. It’s had a rocky journey through the House of Commons, with a 5 month delay between the First and Second Readings, and then a long delay since the Committee Stage ended on Tuesday 28 November. The Bill, as amended, is still waiting for the Report Stage and Third Reading to be scheduled.
However, no date has been set for this, which means the earliest the Bill can clear the House of Commons is March 2024, assuming the Third Reading is finally scheduled for March after this long delay. The Bill would then need to go through the House of Lords before it receives Royal Assent.
I had been wondering if the Bill had been quietly dropped with the lack of progress since November, but Michael Gove’s assurances to Laura Kuenssberg in her interview on 11 February 2024 that Section 21 would be “outlawed” by the general election makes me think that it will complete its journey through the House of Commons in March. That said, as of 23 February, the Report Stage in the House of Commons still hasn’t been scheduled.
Bookmark this page for future news, as I keep it regularly updated.
Last updated: 23 February 2024
Quick Links: Renters Reform Bill Timetable
What’s happening with the Renters Reform Bill?
Although the Bill was published on 17 May 2023, the Report Stage and Third Reading have still not even been scheduled, and it is yet to go through the House of Lords. Although this lack of progress might suggest the Bill has been dropped, this now seems unlikely given Michael Gove’s assurances to Laura Kuenssberg on 11 February mentioned above.
In any event, the delay means time is now tight, but not impossible, for the Bill to receive Royal Assent before parliament is dissolved for the next General Election. The election needs to be held by 28 January 2025, but is likely to be held in 2024. Rental reform was a manifesto commitment for the Conservatives, and if it’s not passed, the opposition parties will no doubt make much of it in an election.
>> Related Post: What do the main political parties say about rental reform?
When will the Renters Reform Bill come into force?
Assuming the Bill receives Royal Assent in 2024 (this is when the RRB will become an Act of Parliament), the Renters Reform Bill will come into force at least 6 months after Royal Assent for new tenancies, and 18 months after Royal Assent for tenancies already in place.
Even if the RRB receives Royal Assent before the General Election, none of its provisions will have come into force by then, not least the abolition of Section 21, which has been delayed until there is “sufficient progress” on improving the court system.
>> Related Post: What the abolition of Section 21 means for landlords
Timeline for the Renters Reform Bill
In the timeline below, I show the key milestones for RRB as it moves towards becoming an Act of Parliament. I have based the timetable for its implementation of on statements in the White Paper, A Fairer Private Rented Sector (see pages 31-32).
I’ll keep updating this page to track its journey towards implementation and tick off each completed stage.
If the Third Reading takes place after all in March, there is just about enough time for the Bill to make the statute book before the election.
>> Related Post: What’s the latest on the Renters Reform Bill?
17 May 2023
The name of the Bill was read out in the House of Commons
23 October 2023
Second Reading Debate
This was the first big (and much delayed) step in the Bill’s journey through parliament, when the RRB was debated for the first time.
Michael Gove opened the debate and set out the case for the RRB, explaining its provisions. The opposition responded and other members were free to discuss it.
Finally, a motion was carried without a vote for the Bill proceed to the Committee Stage.
Completed 28 November 2023
The Committee heard oral evidence from a wide selection of witnesses from the private rented sector (including the NRLA, Shelter, lawyers, academics, and Trading Standards), before progressing to its line-by-line analysis of the original text and amendments tabled by the government and opposition.
The Committee Stage ended on 28 November 2023, and the Bill was formally reported to the House of Commons for the Report Stage.
Report Stage and Third Reading
At the Report Stage, MPs will table, debate and, if needed, vote on amendments and new clauses to the Renters Reform Bill. The Third Reading debate will normally immediately follow the Report Stage.
Spring – Summer 2024
House of Lords
The whole process will then start again the House of Lords.
Once the Commons and Lords have agreed on the final version in the process called “ping pong”, the RRB can receive Royal Assent.
Summer – Autumn 2024?
Once the RRB has been passed by both Houses of Parliament, it becomes law when it receives Royal Assent and this has been signified to Parliament.
It will then become the Renters (Reform) Act.
October or November 2024? (Before 28 January 2025)
The next General Election needs to be held before 28 January 2025
Winter 2024 – Spring 2025?
First Implementation Date:
This is the date the RRA will apply to new tenancies (apart from Section 21) which is at least 6 months after Royal Assent.
12 months later: Winter 2025 – Spring 2026?
Second Implementation Date:
All existing tenancies would transition to the new system, apart from the abolition of Section 21.
When “sufficient progress” to improve the courts has been made…
Abolition of Section 21
Abolishing Section 21 will not take place “until we judge sufficient progress has been made to improve the courts. That means we will not proceed with the abolition of section 21, until reforms to the justice system are in place” (Govt Response to Levelling Up Committee Response)
* Based on transition arrangements outlined in the White Paper
Last updated: 23 February 2024