The government has once again declined to give any meaningful timetable for the introduction of the Renters Reform Bill.
At the end of a very sparsely attended debate in the House of Commons, Felicity Buchan – a newly appointed under-secretary of state at the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – agreed with the sentiments of almost all those MPs who had spoken.
However, she simply said there would be progress on the Bill “in due course” – and have no indication of what that meant.
This is despite the legislation being pledged three years ago, in the Conservative manifesto for the 2019 General Election.
Buchan, who has been in post for only a few weeks, made a number of general statements summing up for the government at the end of the short debate.
She said: “The Government are determined to deliver a new deal for tenants and landlords in the private rented sector … Everyone in our society deserves to live somewhere decent, warm, safe and secure. The Government are determined to make that vision a reality.”
She also said: “I am proud of the action that the Government have already taken to put things right. We have strengthened local authorities’ enforcement powers by introducing fines of up to £30,000, extending rent repayment orders and introducing banning orders for the most serious and prolific offenders.
“We have introduced new regulations, which require landlords to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and ensure that the electrical installations in their properties are safe.
“We are concluding our overhaul of the housing, health and safety rating system, which is the tool used to assess hazardous conditions in rented homes. That will make it more accessible to tenants and landlords and allow more efficient enforcement.”
The Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke and Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle lead the debate in the Commons.
Other MPs who spoke were those with long-standing criticisms of the private rental sector, short lets, holiday homes, landlords and letting agents.