MPs are putting government plans to reform the private rented sector under a microscope – and want landlords and property professionals in England to chip in with their take on the proposals.
The government recently published a white paper outlining plans to transform the private rented sector.
The white paper – a policy document setting out proposals for a future Renters Reform Bill – lists several new measures, including:
- Setting a decent homes standard for the private rented homes
- Reforming tenancy contracts and scrapping no-fault evictions
- New rules limiting the grounds on which landlords can take possession of their properties
- Better protection for tenants from unfair rent increases.
- Proposals to set up a new property ombudsman,
- Suggestions from landlords about ways to speed up the court process
- A crackdown on landlords who refuse to rent to benefit claimants
The MPs also want a more general look at how private renting works.
- 1 Tenants are victims of landlord power
- 2 A new deal will level rights for tenants
- 3 Rent reform FAQ
Tenants are victims of landlord power
They want to know what landlords want to see in a decent home standard and will quiz how councils will police the rules and how the reforms will impact the supply of homes for rent.
Clive Betts, who chairs the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, said: “Private renters can be the victim of a power imbalance with their landlords, subject to unjustified hikes in rents and the fear of being forced out of their accommodation. During a cost-of-living crisis, the impact of rising housing costs is even more damaging to households.
“It’s welcome that the government has come forward with its white paper and, as a committee, we are keen to examine how effective the proposed reforms will be in protecting tenants and ensuring the success of the private rented sector in providing homes.
“As a committee, we look forward to hearing from a range of stakeholders, including tenant groups, landlords, local government, and ministers and will then report with recommendations to the government on how they could improve their proposals for reform of the private rented sector.”
A new deal will level rights for tenants
The committee wants landlords to submit their opinions and evidence by August 19.
The new deal for tenants, the Fairer Private Rented Sector white paper, was published in June 2022 after years of sitting on the government’s policy back burner.
Launched with a blaze of publicity, Levelling Up and Housing Secretary Michael Gove argued the bill would stop injustice for 4.4 million tenants.
He said: “Our new deal for renters will improve the rights and conditions for millions of renters as we level up across the country and deliver on the people’s priorities.
“For too long, many private renters have been at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords who fail to repair homes and let families live in damp, unsafe and cold properties, with the threat of unfair no-fault eviction orders hanging over them.”
Rent reform FAQ
What are Green and White Papers?
Governments publish all sorts of policy papers, but the two most popular are green and white papers. Green papers generally come first, outlining policy thinking and listing options while requesting feedback from interested parties. White papers detail proposed new laws listed in a green paper and give the reasoning behind them.
How many private rented homes are affected by reforms?
The government reckons England has 4.4 million private rented homes, of which one in five are substandard.
When will the Rent Reform Bill become law?
The assumption is that the incoming prime minister will appoint a housing secretary to see the bill through Parliament. No bill has been published and is likely to come in the next session of Parliament, which starts in November. As a result, changes will unlikely not occur until at least April 2024.
Is Michael Gove still housing secretary?
No. He left the post in July as part of the wave of no-confidence resignations against Boris Johnson. Greg Clark is the incumbent but is likely to move when the new prime minister reshapes their cabinet in the autumn.
Will the bill abolish Section 21 no-fault evictions?
The bill intends to reshape the eviction process for tenants and landlords by scrapping Section 21.