The government has bowed to years of pressure to clean up the private lettings industry by signalling new laws are on the way to regulate agents and landlords.
Communities secretary Sajid Javid made the announcement out of the blue as the Tory Party Conference 2017 started in Manchester.
Javid explained new laws are on the way to force letting agents to join a supervisory body that will ensure they maintain minimum standards and undergo training.
Buy to let and shared house landlords will have to sign up with an ombudsman scheme so tenants have an independent voice to listen to their complaints.
The minister also hinted a new property court will sit to hear gripes from private tenants about their landlords and letting agents.
Lastly, Javid hinted Chancellor Phillip Hammond may have an incentive for landlords to offer tenants 12-month tenancies wrapped up in his Autumn Budget 2017, scheduled for November 22.
“We will explore whether a new housing court could improve existing court processes, reduce dependence on legal representation and encourage arbitration, with benefits for both tenants and landlords,2 said Javid.
“We will consult with the judiciary on whether the introduction of a new housing court can meet the aim of saving time and money in dealing with disputes.”
“For too long tenants have felt unable to resolve the issues they’ve faced, be it insecure tenure, unfair letting agents’ fees or poor treatment by their landlord with little to no means of redress. We’re going to change that.
“We will insist that all landlords are part of a redress scheme and we will regulate letting agents who want to operate.
“Everyone has a right to feel safe and secure in their own homes and we will make sure they do.”
Javid promised a paper laying out the details of his plans would be published soon.