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Renters Reform Bill Pushed Back and Rent Controls off the Table

Posted on June 15th, 2022

Renters Reform

Housing Minister Eddie Hughes was answering written questions to Parliament and indicated that the Renters Reform Bill that includes proposals to ban Section 21 would be pushed back (after previously stating the White Paper would be published in Spring 2022). He seems uncertain on timescales. We will update members by email, and via our bulletin once the White Paper is published.

In answer to a question from Olivia Blake, Labour MP, Hughes said: “We are absolutely committed to delivering a better deal for renters and will be bringing forward a Renters Reform Bill in this parliamentary session. We will publish a White Paper shortly that will set out more detail on our reform proposals.”

This now leaves the door open until Spring 2023.

A reminder of what is anticipated;

  1. The application of the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector for the first time ever. A consultation on this is due in the Summer of 2022.
  2. All landlords will be required to register with a new private rented property portal bringing together information about properties in one place. This has advanced the conversation from a landlord register and is likely to put more emphasis on registering property and what landlords need to do.
  3. The abolishment of Section 21 evictions to deliver a radically fairer deal for renters enabling them to challenge poor practice. The introduction of new and stronger grounds for repeated incidences of rent arrears and reducing notice periods for anti-social behaviour means we are unlikely to see court reform. However, officials will need to work through what this means for the existing tenancy set up as essentially through the proposals the Assured Shorthold regime comes to an end.
  4. The introduction of a new PRS Ombudsman covering all private rented sector landlords who rent out property in England, giving private rented sector tenants full access to redress. This puts into focus a distinction between let only services and agents fully managing a property as well as, depending on how it is set up, agents will have recourse if they have complaints about a bad landlord.


Rent Controls

Labour MP, Rachael Maskell, asked Hughes: “If he will make an assessment of the potential merits of applying further controls to rents in (a) York and (b) other high cost areas.”

Hughes responded on Rent Controls: ” The Government does not support the introduction of rent controls. Historical evidence suggests that rent controls would discourage investment in the sector and would lead to declining property standards as a result, which would not help landlords or tenants. Recent international examples also suggest that rent controls can have an inadvertent negative impact on the supply of housing and may encourage more illegal subletting.

“In the Queen’s Speech 2022, we committed to introducing a Renters Reform Bill in this parliamentary session. Through this, we will abolish ‘no fault’ evictions by removing Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, providing security for tenants in the private rented sector and empowering them to challenge poor practice and unfair rent increases without fear of retaliatory eviction.

“It is important to note that currently if tenants with periodic tenancies believe the level of rent increase is unfair, they can already refer the matter to the Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for independent adjudication. The Tribunal will consider whether the rent increase is in line with market rent.”

Article Abridged from Property 118 & Propertymark

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