Government says it will ‘end injustice’ with new deal Renters Reform Bill

Government says it will ‘end injustice’ with new deal Renters Reform Bill

7:58 AM, 11th May 2022, About 2 months ago 38

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Michael Gove, and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, have followed up on the Queen’s speech with exactly what their intentions are for the Renters Reform Bill.

Apparently, 21% of private renters live in homes of an unacceptable standard and 22% did not end their tenancy by choice (ignoring the fact this could be for rent arrears or anti-social behaviour etc.).

The official government press release is below:

The government will deliver the biggest change to renters law in a generation, improving the lives of millions of renters by driving up standards in the private and socially rented sector, delivering on the government’s mission to level up the country.

A “new deal” will be put in place for the 4.4 million households privately renting across England by extending the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector for the first time. These reforms will build on the progress the government has already made in this area, and ensure all renters have access to secure, quality homes, levelling up opportunities for the 21% of private rented who currently live in homes of an unacceptable standard.

New measures will also protect tenants, delivering on a manifesto commitment. So-called ‘no fault’ Section 21 evictions – that allow rogue landlords to terminate tenancies without giving any reason – will be outlawed, so renters can remain in their homes and communities, and continue supporting the local economy. 22% of those who moved in the past year did not end their tenancy by choice.

Together these reforms will help to ease the cost of living pressures renters are facing, saving families moving from one privately rented home to another an estimated £1,400 in moving costs.

The Bill will also strengthen landlords’ grounds for repossession making it easier for them to evict tenants who are wilfully not paying rent, or who are repeatedly engaging in anti-social behaviour, bringing down neighbourhoods.

Tenants in social housing will also benefit from major reforms to the sector. The Social Housing Regulation Bill will make all registered social housing providers subject to a tough new regulatory regime, with failing social landlords facing unlimited fines if they fail to meet the standards expected of them.

Levelling Up and Housing Secretary Michael Gove said: “Too many renters are living in damp, unsafe and cold homes, powerless to put it right, and under the threat of sudden eviction.

“The New Deal for renters announced today will help to end this injustice, improving conditions and rights for millions of renters.

“This is all part of our plan to level up communities and improve the life chances of people from all corners of the country.”

New deal for private renters

There are 4.4 million households in the private rented sector and the Decent Homes Standard will place a legal obligation on the small number of landlords renting out homes that are of such low quality they are endangering the health of their tenants to quickly improve them.

Today’s reforms will prevent private landlords from benefiting from taxpayer money for renting out low-quality homes, slashing the £3 billion a year in housing benefit that is estimated to go to landlords renting out non-decent homes. It will also save the NHS anywhere up to the £340 million a year it is spending on the ill health that low quality privately rented homes create.

Currently, areas in the North have the highest proportion of non-decent private rented homes. The measures announced in the Queen’s Speech will ensure every private renter in the country can enjoy a good standard of living, spreading access and opportunity across the country.

The Renters Reform Bill will also end the injustice that sees renters unable to put down roots in their communities as a result of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions.

A new Private Renters’ Ombudsman will be created to enable disputes between private renters and landlords to be settled quickly, at low cost, and without going to court. The ombudsman will cover all private landlords letting properties and make sure that when residents make a complaint, landlords take action to put things right.

The Bill will also introduce a new property portal to help landlords understand their obligations, give tenants performance information to hold their landlords to account, and help councils crack down on poor practice.

The government will shortly publish a White Paper setting out more detail on our proposals for landmark reform in the private rented sector and will continue to work with the sector to develop the Renters Reform Bill.

Social renters

The Social Housing Regulation Bill will continue to deliver on the government’s reforms in response to the Grenfell Tower fire as we reach the 5th anniversary of the tragedy. It follows on from the Building Safety Act and last year’s Fire Safety Act. The Social Housing Regulation Bill will create a robust regulatory framework that will drive up the standards of social housing accommodation and help tenants and the Regulator hold social housing landlords to account.

It will:

  • Create new, tough regulations for better social housing – helping tenants to hold shoddy landlords to account.
  • Give the Regulator stronger powers to enforce action if they see failings by social housing landlords.
  • Place an expectation on social landlords to place tenants’ concerns at the heart of all they do, with effective resident engagement in place, so no one has to live in sub-standard social housing.
  • Provide greater transparency for tenants on how their landlord is performing, how their homes are managed and who is responsible for compliance with health and safety requirements.
  • Strengthen the economic regulation of the social housing sector, increasing protections for tenants’ homes and supporting continued investment in the new supply of social housing.

The government also today introduced the landmark Levelling Up and Regeneration bill, which will spread opportunity and prosperity and transform towns and communities across the United Kingdom. This includes a significant package of measures to revive high streets, regenerate town centres and deliver the high-quality homes that communities need. It will put the legal foundations in place to deliver the government’s wide-reaching proposals to spread opportunity, drive productivity and boost local pride.

Further information

  • A fifth of renters paying over a third of their income to live in a low-quality home.
  • The NAO published a report on Private Rented Sector regulation in December 2021, which estimated that £9.1 billion in housing support was paid to private renters or directly to private landlords in 2020-21. 29% of renters in receipt of welfare live in a non-decent homes, giving around £3 billion of housing benefit spent on poor quality homes.
  • The reforms will be of particular benefit to those in the North of England, with data from the English Housing Survey showing that the proportion of non-decent homes is high in the North than other areas of the country.

 



Comments

LaLo

20:07 PM, 11th May 2022, About 2 months ago

I should think tenants outnumber LLs 5 - 1 therefore better to chase tenant votes - simple!

Gromit

20:21 PM, 11th May 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Coastal at 11/05/2022 - 10:58
The Government are in the pockets of the big BTR companies who want less competition from private Landlords and higher rents

Bristol Landlord

20:22 PM, 11th May 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Anne Nixon at 11/05/2022 - 19:40
I think the reason the anti landlord rhetoric seems to be universal is because it must have been a high level Tory Govt policy decision. The decision being to push out the traditional BTL landlords in favour of the corporate BTR landlords. There has been a continuous Tory Govt since David Cameron in 2005, therefore it has been easy to develop and maintain this particular policy. The official, but secret, policy then would have been a full spectrum effort, ie MPs, HMRC, Local Government, Main Stream Media, tenants groups such as Shelter & Gen Rent, increased energy efficiency etc.
It is a well coordinated War on Landlords with a defined and intended goal of a drastic reduction in private landlords. This is intended to hand the corporate landords millions of desperate customers with nowhere else to go.
Anyone who makes comments such "when is the Govt going to listen to us" or "does the Govt understand the damage they are doing" etc is completely missing the point. The Govt will never listen to BTL landlords and fully understands the damage they are doing to the PRS. The Govt does not care one bit about either landlords or tenants, we are just collateral damage in their war on the PRS to make it corporate friendly.

Anne Nixon

20:41 PM, 11th May 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Bristol Landlord at 11/05/2022 - 20:22
I think you're probably right, also LaLo's theory about the vote chasing aspect of it is probably also part of it.
The left leaning 'woke' angle seems to have even permeated into the organisation that is supposed to represent landlords, the NRLI which comes across as being in the pockets of Shelter and Generation Rent.
For the moment we are pretty much on our own it seems but I'm sure the tide will turn when they all get what they wished for, a shrinking PRS, which will lead to higher homelessness figures and rising rents.

Bristol Landlord

21:12 PM, 11th May 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Anne Nixon at 11/05/2022 - 20:41I have rented from corporate landlords when I lived in America and can say they are a no nonsense, strictly business, money making operation. For tenants everyone will be credit checked and referenced, there will be zero tolerance for late rent, zero tolerance for ASB, zero tolerance for breaking any rules, nothing will be negotiable, there will be no breaks for a tenant, everything done by the book. Tenants are going to find it a different world.Tenants without a solid credit history will out of luck
Although BTR is popular with the younger crowd it is not for everyone, especially older tenants or families. Im hoping the traditional landlords will still attract those who want to live in a normal property and perhaps a traditional double bay Victorian terrace with period features in a nice part of town will become trendy or even exclusive!!
Our future will be to offer what the BTR does not, ie something different, more personal not corporate, more privacy, less crowded living experience, period features and with your own back garden etc.
.

Golfman

22:04 PM, 11th May 2022, About 2 months ago

I think this is the end of the road for me. If any of you have tried to evict a tenant recently its nigh on impossible- with all of the Covid drama I have endured pain from tenants who have been very painful to their neighbours and others. Its been impossible to move them on. In the past I could pay them to leave - but that doesnt work any more. In London there are no properties available any more. Many landlords have sold up under this government's socialist pandering policies.

Judges use every possible technicality to throw things out - its impossible to get your place back often. I am an NRLA member and have been for many years. I have a large portfolio in North London and have decided that its time for me to exit- with the threat of Sadiq Khan and now the elimination of s21 - not worth the hassle. Getting inflationary increases in rent has been very troublesome. It's the end of the PRS party. Everything has its day and its the end of this one. Unless you genuinely dont see any other investment to give you the return - its very hard to see the logic in this anymore.

On a serious note - if you are looking to build a portfolio up- I am selling and would be happy to discuss with any landlord. Deal on offer! This is just not my cup of team any longer. Get in touch or respond!

Sad day...for me and my tenants who have been with me for over 15years in many cases.

Old Mrs Landlord

9:00 AM, 12th May 2022, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by LaLo at 11/05/2022 - 19:26Unfortunately, there is no provision in the new guidance for landlords to evict in order to sell their property.
However, the word I find most worrying in the statement is "wilfully" ("not paying rent"). How difficult will it be made to evict tenants who claim they cannot pay their rent because of restricted means? If we are not able to evict for non-payment of rent unless that is wilful, it makes a nonsense of the rental agreement contract. Any tenant who loses his job for any reason or has any misfortune which reduces his income can claim his withholding of rent is not wilful and the landlord will be obliged to provide either free accommodation or accept the Local Housing Allowance rate regardless of how far it falls short of contracted rent or how late it is received. If this is "ending injustice" then language has lost all meaning! By that yardstick any hungry person who can't afford the groceries he wants should be entitled to simply walk into a shop and take them.

Martin Thomas

12:16 PM, 12th May 2022, About a month ago

If I had voted for the Monster Raving Loony Party, there would have been more sense coming out of Whitehall. They really don't have a clue and are bamboozled by left wing civil servants and people like Polly Neate from Shelter.

Debs Forbes

12:26 PM, 12th May 2022, About a month ago

It's not me, the Landlord, that is the problem with disrepair it is the Freeholder refusing to send out section 20s and do works. He just does patch up jobs and refuses to have a leak trace on the roof. My poor tenants with three children have now spent three years with a mouldy ceiling and a massive leak in the middle of their lounge. I have now spent £6,000 solicitors bill (I've been waiting to go to court for a year now, it is still in the system) and in the mean time spent £4,000 trying different leak traces etc. to locate the leak. The owner of three flats is doing their best to support me with the Freeholder but nothing is working. The flat owners do not want 'Right to Manage'. It all so distressing, affecting my wellbeing let alone what it must do to my tenants. I welcome the bill and hope that it strengthens my case in court. £11,000 paid out and my leak remains!

Whiteskifreak Surrey

18:00 PM, 12th May 2022, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Old Mrs Landlord at 12/05/2022 - 09:00This is the most scary post I have ever seen and thank you for bringing that to our attention (at least to mine).
No LL will ever be able to prove that a tenant willfully does not pay a rent. These angelic individuals will always have mitigating circumstances - no work, depression, in-between jobs, pursuing an expensive hobby etc
We are dealing currently with a group like that and are counting days until they move. We have to beg for every payment. Guarantors do not rush to step in.
The meaning of an ownership has a completely new, meaningless meaning.
The question remains - what can we do about it?
Honestly - I think I am going back 40 year to living in one of Eastern Europe countries, in communism, or more like stalinism, as even during the communism LLs has rights to their property.
What happened to this once wonderful country?

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