William Eichler 16 June 2022

Council chiefs cautiously welcome new private renting protections

Council chiefs cautiously welcome new private renting protections image
Image: Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock.com.

New measures aimed at protecting the rights of private renters are welcome but local authorities must be properly funded to support their implementation, council chiefs say.

The Government today launched what they described as a ‘new deal’ aimed at ensuring that the 4.4 million private rented tenants in the UK have access to safe accommodation and are not subjected to arbitrary rent hikes or eviction.

The Fairer Private Rented Sector white paper proposes to extend the Decent Homes Standard to the private sector. Previously only applicable to public housing, the Decent Homes Standard means that landlords must ensure private rental properties are free from serious health and safety hazards.

‘No fault’ Section 21 evictions, which allow landlords to terminate tenancies without giving any reason, will be outlawed and blanket bans on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits will also be banned.

‘For too long many private renters have been at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords who fail to repair homes and let families live in damp, unsafe and cold properties, with the threat of unfair “no fault” evictions orders hanging over them,’ said levelling up and housing secretary Michael Gove.

‘Our New Deal for renters will help to end this injustice by improving the rights and conditions for millions of renters as we level up across the country and deliver on the people’s priorities.’

The white paper sets out measures ending the use of arbitrary rent review clauses, restricting tribunals from hiking up rent and enabling tenants to be repaid rent for non-decent homes. This will give tenants the power to take landlords to court if their homes are not at an acceptable standard.

Local authorities will also be given stronger powers to tackle the worst offenders and increase fines for serious offences. These will be backed by enforcement pilots.

Responding to the announcement, Cllr David Renard, housing spokesperson for the Local Government Association (LGA), said: ‘We are pleased that the Government has committed to introducing legislation through the White Paper to increase the rights of tenants and enable them to better hold their landlord to account.

‘Removal of “no-fault evictions” is a key step towards increased protection for private renters and will allow renters to challenge poor practice and unfair rent increases without fear of eviction. It will also be important that landlords are able to get their properties back in a timely fashion where they have a valid reason to do so.

‘Commitment to extending a legally binding Decent Homes Standard to improve conditions in the private rented sector is positive. This reform should be implemented quickly, and it is vital that councils are sufficiently resourced, through new burdens funding, to support the implementation of the standard.’

He continued: ‘To go even further towards tackling insecure and unfit housing, we would like to see a review of Local Housing Allowance rates, and councils to have stronger selective licensing powers by removing the requirement for secretary of state approval for larger schemes.’

There will also be a new property portal that will provide a single source of information for landlords, councils and tenants, and a new Private Renters’ Ombudsman will be created to enable disputes between private renters and landlords to be settled without going to court.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), said: ‘Whilst headline commitments to strengthening possession grounds, speedier court processes and mediation are helpful, the detail to follow must retain the confidence of responsible landlords, as well as improving tenants’ rights.

‘We will be analysing the Government’s plans carefully to ensure they meet this test. A failure to do so will exacerbate the housing crisis at a time when renters are struggling to find the homes they need.

‘The eventual legislation needs to recognise that government actions have led to a shortage of supply in the sector at a time of record demand. It is causing landlords to leave the sector and driving up rents when people can least afford it.’

Polly Neate, chief executive of the housing charity Shelter, welcomed the proposals and said that it was important for the plans to 'keep their teeth' as they passed through Parliament.

'The Renters’ Reform Bill is a gamechanger for England’s 11 million private renters. Scrapping unfair evictions will level the playing field. For the first time in a long time, tenants will be able to stand up to bad behaviour instead of living in fear,' she said.

'This white paper promises people safety and security in their home, and it makes clear that landlords need to play by the rules. Gone will be the days of families being uprooted and children forced to move school after being slapped with a Section 21 no-fault eviction for no good reason.

'As these plans move through Parliament, they’ve got to keep their teeth to drive up standards and professionalise private renting. For every renter trapped in a never-ending nightmare of moving from one shoddy rental to the next, the Renters’ Reform Bill cannot come soon enough.'

Regenerating public realm for climate change image

Regenerating public realm for climate change

The regeneration of White Hart Lane in Tottenham, London has shown has permeable paving and street trees should can help address climate change while delivering SuDS. Chris Hodson reports.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Roadworker Ganger (Civils)

City of York Council
£21,989 to £24,447
City of York Council are looking for a number of Roadworker Gangers to join its Highways Capital Projects Team. York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Mental Health Recovery Worker

City of York Council
£22,374 to £24,875
We are looking for a motivated team player to join our team providing supported housing for adults with mental health needs York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Assistant Housing Policy Officer

City of York Council
£25,380 - £27,541
This post offers an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic individual to support the policy and strategy team. York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Health, Safety & Wellbeing Advisor

Leicestershire County Council
£33,558
Working for our traded service we work with clients in education, county, district and parish councils. Leicester, Leicestershire / Hybrid
Recuriter: Leicestershire County Council

Social Worker

Leicestershire County Council
£25,932 - £36,231
Here at Leicestershire County Council, we now have exciting opportunities for both experienced and newly qualified Social Workers. Leicestershire
Recuriter: Leicestershire County Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.