The Rental Reform White Paper

An interesting article from 'The Negotiator':-



eddie hughes renting reform

Letting agents will soon face a very different private renting sector once the government’s proposals become law, its new White Paper published today makes clear.

Unlikely to become law until next Spring and coming three years after it was first announced, the ‘A Fairer Rented Sector’ White Paper will sweep in seismic changes to how homes are rented out and managed.

Introducing the document in parliament, housing minister Eddie Hughes said: “We want to change the UK’s reputation as a place to both rent and own a home,” he told MPs.

“Also, we want renters to have the same peace of mind that owning your home gives.”

Michael Gove, Hughes’ boss, prefaces the 80-page document, saying: “This White Paper builds on the vision of the Levelling Up White Paper and sets out our plans to fundamentally reform the Private Rented Sector and level up housing quality.”

It offers up a 12-point plan. This includes:

  1. Ensuring all PRS homes in the UK meet the Decent Homes Standard;
  2. Running selective local authority pilot schemes to bolster policing of bad landlords;
  3. Removing landlords’ rights to evict tenants ‘without fault’ and then give them more powers to evict, but only for established and set reasons;
  4. Rents will only be allowed to increase once a year;
  5. Tenants will be able to take poorly-performing and rogue landlords to a single Ombudsman to gain redress, a scheme that all landlords will have to join and pay for;
  6. The White Paper also promises to reduce the courts backlog for evictions through greater funding and staffing;
  7. And as announced before, the Government will introduce a property portal for all UK rented homes that will include information from the official rogue landlord database and details of a landlord’s compliance.
    It could also be used to stop landlords renting out properties that do not meet minimum standards.
    “Requiring landlords to take a proactive approach to property management would benefit those good landlords who already meet basic requirements, while simplifying enforcement for local councils and hitting criminal landlords hard,” the document says.
    “We are committed to carefully balancing landlords’ privacy concerns with the need of private tenants to make informed decisions about their housing options when designing a new system.”
  8. Investigative powers for local authorities are also being increased, as are fines.
  9. Also, agents and landlords will be prevented from refusing tenants on benefits without good reason;
  10. Any tenant who wishes to live with their pets will have a ‘right’ to do so, albeit subject to a reasonability test.
  11. The government will work with companies to developer a ‘renting passport’ to enable poorer tenants to move home without having to stump up two deposits.
  12. But the most radical changes are those around tenancies and tenure.
    The document reveals that Ministers plan to give private landlords six months’ notice of its first implementation date, after which all new tenancies will be periodic and governed by the new rules, ushering out ASTs.
    By periodic, the government means fixed-term tenancies that will be pre-agreed between landlord and tenant, with tenants required to give two months’ notice at any time during that period, and landlords only able to evict them under circumstances including both ‘fault’ (i.e. rent arrears or anti-social behaviour/damage) or no-fault (i.e. to move back into a property or sell it).
    “Periodic tenancies will also enable tenants to leave easily without remaining liable for the rent in unsuitable and unsafe accommodation,” the document says.
The Rental Reform White Paper

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