Government Publishes Rent Reform White Paper

The Government has published its long awaited plans for ‘a fairer private rented sector’.

The plans spanning 12 points promise to reform the private rented sector. These include:

1. Requirements for all privately rented homes to meet the Decent Homes Standard by 2030.
2. Running pilot schemes with local authorities to give greater powers to enforce housing standards and speed up adoption of the Decent Homes Standard.
3. To abolish Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and change tenancies all tenancies to a form of periodic tenancies.
4. Reform of the grounds for possession so that landlords have effective means to gain possession of their property with disruptive or anti-social tenants. Including new grounds for persistent rent arrears and for the sale of the property.
5. Rent increases limited to once per year and the abolishment of rent review clauses. Improved abilities for tenants to challenge rent increases at the First Tier Tribunal.
6. Introduction of a new single Ombudsman that all private landlords must join to allow tenants to hold their landlords to account.
7. Targeting the areas where there are unacceptable delays in court
8. A new Property Portal to make sure that tenants, landlords and local councils have the information they
9. Strengthen local authorities enforcement powers and ability to prosecute criminal landlords.
10. To make it illegal for landlords or agents to have blanket bans on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits and explore if similar action is needed for other vulnerable groups.
11. Give tenants the right to request a pet in their property, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse. To amend the Tenant Fees Act so that landlords can request that their tenants buy pet insurance.
12. To develop solutions to passport deposits.

The full details of how the Government intends to implement these ambitious plans remains to be seen. It is important to remember that these plans are not yet enshrined in law. Implementation will not happen overnight. Landlord and Agents should be given ample notice to ensure they are compliant. There is no need for a knee-jerk reaction from worried landlords to immediately seek possession of their properties now before the plans are implemented.

Propertymark, the leading membership body for property agents, has already set out broadly what they think reform should look like in their The Future of Renting paper, providing evidence of a shrinking PRS. They will be closely scrutinising the new White Paper and working with Ministers to help them understand how on a practical level it will impact letting agent members and their landlords

Perry Bishop’s experienced Lettings team are here to keep you informed of any upcoming changes over the coming weeks.

Read the Government’s White Paper in full.

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