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 weeks ago 37

Text Size

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

by Old Mrs Landlord

21:51 PM, 12th May 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Whiteskifreak Surrey at 12/05/2022 - 18:00
I think you are right that the stumblingblock will be the burden of proof that non-payment is in fact wilful. It's a nice little earner for rival groups of solicitors I fear and, of course, the tenant will be entitled to legal aid. Shelter's legal team must be jumping for joy.

by charles stevens

3:04 AM, 16th May 2022, About 2 weeks ago

So the Govt stats claim that 22% of tenants did not end their tenancy voluntarily. What is the % of them them that had their tenancy ended by a process that will still be available under the section 8 process? What % of them were ended because the tenant wanted to move back into the house or for any of the proposed reasons that will still be available after the abolition of section 21? and how many of these were, not because the tenant did not want to leave, but because the tenant asked for the section 21 process to be undertaken as they need to be evicted in order to get on the council housing list!

Plus how many landlord's actually serve a section 21 other than for any of the reasons that will still be viable? If a landlord has a good tenant whether they are paying slightly under market rent usually doesn't dictate whether a section 21 application is made! The purpose/result ratio on this is going to be embarrassing and i would go as far to say that this section 21 abolition is going to be a good thing for landlords!

by Jack Rainbow

6:49 AM, 16th May 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Ashleigh at 11/05/2022 - 08:27
Don't expect common sense from Michael Gove.

by charles stevens

5:51 AM, 27th May 2022, About A day ago

I have been saying since the first time this idea was raised (2 years ago was it?) that the impact of this will have to be watered down so much that its impact on the majority of landlords will be nominal (in fact i wrote an article recently where i said i believe, and i do, that this will actually end up being a good thing for landlords but anyway).

How many landlords in practice actually serve a section 21 notice for any reason other than they want to sell or they want to move back in? I would guess very very few and there is no way that the Govt wont make some concessions for these possibilities - it is just not going to happen.

If they did, and again i say they wont, the would effectively be asking landlords to be come interest only mortgage companies and that's just not going to happen. Also, if they did this, it would probably stop the rental market in its tracks as there would be no prospective landlords coming into the market and existing landlords would be looking to get out. Fewer houses being rented will just push people into buying houses which, with inflation and interest rates on the rise, is not happening so no one buys and no one rents until the house prices have to drop to a point where mortgage companies LTV makes it viable to borrow but thats only going to be shortlived as once the demand (together with the viability to borrow the required amount) is back the house prices will become unattainable and so you are back to square one.

I honestly think that this needs to be viewed as exactly what it is and that's simply a headline to attract voters. Conservative voters are traditionally home owners/landlords but as they havent been able to resolve the housing problem (so cant increase home owners and therefore the pool of their usual voters) they are trying to appeal to the renters wo traditionally vote labour. That is what i see this all being about and i honestly cannot see how they can make this have enough teeth for it to bite landlords in a serious way...but we will see i suppose.

by Gromit

7:32 AM, 27th May 2022, About A day ago

Reply to the comment left by charles stevens at 27/05/2022 - 05:51I love your optimism, but I don't share your faith in the Government having any commonsense or knowledge of the PRS (& how ut works). In evidence I give you the track record of supposedly Conservative Government for the last 7 years.
This woke Government just panders to rants/ideology from the likes of Shelter, Generation Rent, Acorn, et al who shout the loudest & claim to represent millions of tenants, in the vain hope it'll make them more popular and garner more votes at the next General Election. They'll continue to ignore PRS experts until they realise the damage their policies have done, they'll then consult for a year, draft legislation for another year, and then enact new Law which will take several years to take any effect. During which tenants will suffer high rents, lack of availability and homelessness.

by charles stevens

8:21 AM, 27th May 2022, About A day ago

Reply to the comment left by Gromit at 27/05/2022 - 07:32
completely agree with you that they dont know what they are doing! Also think that this s21 abolition that everyone seems to think is a god send for tenants will in fact increase rents and do little else...but it doesn't matter so long as we are not talking about whether Boris lied or not haha...

by charles stevens

9:27 AM, 27th May 2022, About A day ago

completely agree with you that they dont know what they are doing! Also think that this s21 abolition that everyone seems to think is a god send for tenants will in fact increase rents and do little else...but it doesn't matter so long as we are not talking about whether Boris lied or not haha...


Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

BECOME A MEMBER

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now