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On Wednesday 22nd May 2024, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the next general election will take place on 4th July. The surprise announcement has left many landlords wondering whether the Renters (Reform) Bill will become law.

What happens now?

When the Prime Minister announced the date of the election, he said the King had agreed to prorogue and then dissolve the current parliament.

Prorogation marks the end of a parliamentary session. This will take place at the end of today, 24th May 2024.

Dissolution of parliament follows next on Thursday 30th May. This is when all the seats in the House of Commons become vacant.

Unfinished legislation

At the time of the election announcement, some 16 bills had not yet passed into law. One of these is the long-awaited Renters (Reform) Bill. Others include the proposed smoking ban, a law to create an independent football regulator and a leasehold reform bill.

Some bills will pass into law by the end of today, 24th May. This is because of something called a ‘wash-up’ period. This is when the government and opposition agree to quickly pass uncontentious bills into law before prorogation happens.

The Renters (Reform) Bill is currently at the committee stage in the House of Lords. However, the order paper for today’s business in the Lords contains no mention of the Renters (Reform) Bill. As a result, it won’t become law.

Will the Renters (Reform) Bill become law in the next parliament?

In the vast majority of cases, bills can’t be carried over from one parliamentary session to another. So, any bill that doesn’t pass into law at the end of the wash-up period will fail.

When it comes to the Renters (Reform) Bill, there are now two main scenarios for the next parliament.

First, if the Conservatives win the election (which current polls suggest is unlikely), they may reintroduce the legislation. In this situation, it would have to pass through the Commons another time before going back to the Lords and on to royal assent.

Second, if the Labour Party wins the election, it may introduce its own private rental sector reforms. Shadow Housing Secretary and Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner has said that Labour will scrap Section 21 evictions on the party’s first day in office.

Other changes to the housing sector

While the Renters (Reform) Bill will fail, one piece of housing legislation is likely to be passed today. This is the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill. This will scrap leaseholds on new houses, but not on flats. It will also make it easier for leaseholders to extend leases and buy the freehold. Additionally, it will cap ground rents at 0.1% for lease extensions in most instances.

If this legislation is not passed, it could be reintroduced in a different form by a Labour government. However, while Labour had promised to abolish leaseholds in its first 100 days in power, it rowed back on this policy in April 2024.

What next for rental reform?

What happens next for rental reform is subject to speculation. Although the Renters (Reform) Bill won’t enter the statute books, both main political parties have an appetite for reform. We’ll keep you updated on any proposed legislation in the next parliament.

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    Avatar for Jon Pryse-Jones
    About Jon Pryse-Jones

    Since joining THP in 1978, Jon Pryse-Jones has been hands on with every area of the business. Now specialising in strategy, business planning, and marketing, Jon remains at the forefront of the growth and development at THP.

    An ideas man, Jon enjoys getting the most out of all situations, “I act as a catalyst for creative people and encourage them to think outside the box,” he says, “and I’m not afraid of being confrontational. It often leads to a better result for THP and its clients.”

    Jon’s appreciation for THP extends to his fellow team members and the board.  “They really know how to run a successful business,” he says.  He’s keen on IT and systems development as critical to success, and he continues to guide THP to be at the cutting edge and effective.

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