Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed the government has no plans to introduce rent controls or ban rent increases.
His response followed a wide-ranging grilling by Parliament’s Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee at an earlier sitting.
The answers covered a range of topics – here are those of interest to landlords:
- Leasehold reform – The government wants to legislate to make the market fairer for homeowners who are victims of mis-selling as soon as possible
- Rent hardship due to coronavirus – The secretary of state reaffirmed that ‘no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home during this difficult time’
- Retaliatory rent increase protection – The government has asked landlords to be flexible and to discuss rents with tenants to allow both sides ‘to agree a sensible way forward’.
“Landlords cannot increase rent without a tenant’s agreement and there are no plans to change the rules regarding rent rises at this time. Likewise, there are no plans to introduce rent controls and prohibit rent increases,” Jenrick wrote to the committee.
- Landlords who want to take back a rented home – The Coronavirus Act requires landlords to give tenants three months’ notice if they want to evict for any reason, before they can apply to the court for possession.
- No compensation for rent arrears due to government policy – The response was fudged with neither a yes nor no answer.
The committee asked specifically about reimbursing councils and housing associations left chasing arrears due to government policy changes with no mention of private landlords.
- When will Section 21 be repealed? – Again, the answer was fudged, confirming repeal of Section 21 is government policy but stating handling the coronavirus crisis was taking precedence and giving no date for introducing legislation.
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In responses to a separate written question in Parliament, Tory MP Matthew Offord asked how many tenants have been evicted since the start of the coronavirus.
Housing Minister Christopher Pincher said: “The Department does not hold or collect information relating to evictions. The Ministry of Justice publish quarterly statistics on possession claim actions in county courts by mortgage lenders and social and private landlords.”