Labour review calls for National Landlords Register, rent ‘stabilisation’ and tenant security

Labour review calls for National Landlords Register, rent ‘stabilisation’ and tenant security

9:59 AM, 17th May 2024, About a month ago 27

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A report commissioned by Labour has called for a major overhaul of the private rented sector (PRS), including the creation of a National Landlord Register and measures to prevent rent rises.

There are also calls for Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions to be abolished and a bid to discourage PRS landlords from leaving for the short-let and temporary accommodation sectors.

And there needs to be more social housing built, the report says, with an acknowledgement that planning policies will need to be reformed.

The report, by Hammersmith and Fulham council leader, Stephen Cowan, is ‘independent’ and its views ‘don’t reflect the Labour Party’.

However, it is being seen as influencing Labour’s housing policy ahead of the next election.

Britain’s broken housing sector

Mr Cowan said: “Britain’s housing sector is broken. For many people, the opportunity to live in a secure, affordable, accessible and good home is out of reach.

“That is set to remain the situation for generations to come unless the system is changed significantly. And that is something Labour has determined to do.”

He added: “Fixing the supply of genuinely affordable homes to buy or rent is an essential step to fixing every part of the housing sector.”

‘Holistic approach’ to fix the housing market’

The report outlines five key areas for reform, emphasising the need for a ‘holistic approach’ to fix the housing market.

  • Increase supply of social housing and genuinely affordable homes: The review highlights the importance of increasing social housing stock and boosting the supply of genuinely affordable homes to buy and rent. It recognises this will require significant reform to planning and land development policies
  • National Landlord Register to enforce standards: The report proposes a mandatory National Landlord Register, requiring landlords to register properties and demonstrate compliance with an annually updated ‘PRS Decent Homes Standard’. This would include evidence of Gas Safety certificates, electrical tests and regular surveyor reports
  • End Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions to provide security for tenants: The report calls for the abolition of Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions to provide tenants with greater security of tenure
  • Rent stabilisation, not rent controls: The review argues against ‘first generation’ rent controls fearing they would have a detrimental effect on the PRS. Instead, it proposes ‘third generation’ rent stabilisation measures, limiting rent increases within tenancies to either local wage growth or inflation, whichever is lower. It also recommends a model with annual rent increases only, four-month notice periods for rent rises and scrapping rent review clauses
  • Discourage landlords from moving to other sectors: The report suggests measures to discourage PRS landlords from moving to short-term holiday lets or temporary accommodation sectors, aiming to preserve long-term rental stock.

Landlords should pay to use the National Landlords Register

The report also makes clear that landlords should pay a fee to use the National Landlords Register – and an independent body should carry compliance checks.

Landlords may also worry about the security of tenure proposal with only periodic tenancies being used – and want to sell a property ‘should not be a ground for ending the tenancy’.

The only ground would be for a landlord to move back into their property as their main residence.

A default by the tenant would also be grounds for possession but lowering the ground for antisocial behaviour should be ‘discretionary’.

The report also wants tenancy agreements to ‘take the form set out in the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016’.

Rent rises being restricted under Labour

Landlords could also see rent rises being restricted under Labour to ‘within tenancies but not between them’ to prevent a new tenancy starting at ‘market rates’. Rent stabilisation would also see:

  • Annual increases only
  • Four months’ notice of increase
  • No rent review clauses
  • Rent increases limited to local wage growth or CPI, whichever is the lower.
  • There should be one system for England and Wales.

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Comments

Reluctant Landlord

8:57 AM, 17th May 2024, About a month ago

last LL out, slam the door behind you...in fact nail it closed. No one will be going back into the PRS if all this sees the light of day...

The buy to let market will crash - if fact it wont legally exist because you can't buy to let if (according to the plans) you don't plan in living in the property as your main home first BEFORE you let it out!???!

I can't see any of this being attractive to the big build to rent corps either.. capped rents according to wage growth or CPI - that's going to create absolutely zero investment in poorer/Northern areas/rural spots.

I could go on......

Beaver

10:20 AM, 17th May 2024, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Reluctant Landlord at 17/05/2024 - 08:57
Measures to PREVENT rent rises short term = measures to create rent rises in the medium and longer term…as ably demonstrated by the SNP in Scotland.

Rent rises are inevitable. The debate should be only about how much they should be, what’s fair market rent, and how frequent they should be.

The trouble with every party that introduces controls on rent or even talks about it is that no landlord or agent then has the choice to hold rents down slightly to reduce the risk of void periods because he or she might not be able to do it later when interest rates rise and other additional costs imposed by government come in. Restricting choice for landlords also restricts choice for tenants.

BECAUSE the Labour Party has now produced this paper and everybody is anticipating a labour government lots of people who weren’t previously thinking about putting up rents will do it now because they may not be able to do it later.

On behalf of all tenants thank you Labour Party for making our lives harder.

Beaver

10:57 AM, 17th May 2024, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Beaver at 17/05/2024 - 10:20
PS: Whilst I am not a tenant my daughter is: The Labour Party just increased the risk for her of a significant rent rise...genius.

Cider Drinker

16:06 PM, 17th May 2024, About a month ago

My tenants has security.

I provided a good home in return for a modest rent.

Then the Government opened the borders, raised taxes, treated landlords with contempt. This meant costs rocketed and rents had to rise.

My rents were 10% to 30% below market rate and well below the LHA Rates. I’ve increased them by 15% this year and will do so again next year. And the year after if the tenants still haven’t got the hint.

Then, I’ll consider having a few holiday lets instead.

Mick Roberts

7:50 AM, 18th May 2024, About a month ago

They on another planet.
want to sell a property ‘should not be a ground for ending the tenancy’.

So u cannot sell something that is yours-Are u supposed to keep it forever? When u aged 90?

Juan Degales

8:34 AM, 18th May 2024, About a month ago

My last tenants to leave, a professional couple who had two children whilst renting from me. They were both teachers and were with me for 9 years. I never increased the rent and always made repairs as required.
When they left the rent that they were paying was 50% lower than the going market rate.
If these proposals came to being then I would only be able to charge my new tenants a little above 50% of market rate.
Under these proposals I would have had to insist the rents were increased every year over the 9 years that they were with me in order to be able to achieve market rates, so that the lovely tenants would not benefit from my generosity.
So another unintended consequence of this proposal.
Nobody seems to be thinking through this crazy war on landlords.

Mick Roberts

9:17 AM, 18th May 2024, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Juan Degales at 18/05/2024 - 08:34
Yes,

Never come to ask Landlords do they.
I've said same.
I'd have to start leaving all mine with Letting Agents, & they'd now have to pay deposits & 2024 deposits at that. About £1500+ each tenant would have to find when nothing going wrong as it is.
We can't cope with all these changes. More work requires more younger brain letting agent from my view.

GlanACC

10:06 AM, 18th May 2024, About a month ago

How many more of these sodding reports do we need, ALL of this stuff has been reported before many many times. Looks like to justify your job you write a report.

Cider Drinker

10:44 AM, 18th May 2024, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 18/05/2024 - 07:50
Making selling a discretionary ground would only work if the government made BTL an attractive investment.

Perhaps allowing property to be wrapped up in an ISA. Maybe capped at £250k per person.

Perhaps reducing CGT to 10% if the tenanted property is sold to another landlord.

Perhaps allowing tenancies to start afresh with the new landlord (to allow deposits to be properly protected etc.,).

Without making BTL attractive, landlords will be forced to sell with vacant possession. Otherwise, landlords will be bankrupt and the creditors will force the property to be sold.

Stella

11:26 AM, 18th May 2024, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by GlanACC at 18/05/2024 - 10:06
This report amounts to sequestration of assets.
There is so much unfairness in the current RRB and to think Labour have to commission another report just to tighten the screw further.
It has occured to me that even with the current RRB it will be almost impossible to get vacant possession even when we have to sell because we will be relying on permission from a Judge.
Our details will also be on an open register where everyone can find where we live, the address of our all our properties and more.
This must be a scammers delight.
Yet we are not allowed to have a tenants register because there are only "bad" landlords and only "good" tenants.
It beggars belief !

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