Thank you for contacting me about the Shelter and Generation Rent campaign support for private renters.
I am assured that the Government is dedicated to reforming the rental sector for tenants and landlords alike. A Renters Reform Bill will be brought forward to deliver a better deal for renters. I fully support ministers in this endeavour and I look forward to reading further details about the reform package in an upcoming White Paper.
Central to these reforms will be the abolition of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, which the Government consulted upon in 2019. This will improve security for tenants and protect them from having to move at short notice, as well as strengthening repossession ground for landlords when they have valid cause. I understand that proposals will also be set out for a new ‘lifetime’ tenancy deposit model that eases the burden on tenants when moving from one tenancy to the next, helping to improve the experience of those living in the private rental sector.
I am assured that the Government is keen to avoid any unintended negative consequences related to the abolition of Section 21 evictions. As part of this, it has been made clear that there should not be any mechanism for landlords to force a tenant to leave the property by including clauses in fixed term tenancy agreements which hike up the rent by excessive or unreasonable amounts just before the agreement is due to expire.
Standards in rented accommodation will be driven up, including by ensuring all tenants have a right to redress and warranting well-targeted, effective enforcement that drives out criminal landlords. As part of this, the White Paper will consult on introducing a legally binding Decent Homes Standard in the private rented sector for the first time. I am also told that the Government will explore the merits of a national landlord register. Improvements and possible efficiencies to the possession process in the courts will also be considered to make it quicker and easier for landlords and tenants to use.
A new property portal will be established which will help landlords understand their obligations, support local authorities to crack down on poor practice and give tenants performance information to hold their landlord to account.
These are important steps in ensuring that renters can benefit from more secure and higher quality homes. I also support creating a more stable rental market for landlords to remain and invest in.
Delayed White Paper: I recognise your frustration that the publication of the White Paper has been delayed; a decision which I understand was taken in order to allow for further consultation with the sector. It is also the case that more time is required so that the findings of the National Audit Office’s review of regulation of the private rented sector can be taken into account. This will be crucial in ensuring that the White Paper delivers the balanced package of reforms that renters want to see.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP