The Government has set out plans to level up the private rented sector which will rebalance the relationship between tenants and landlords. This will provide tenants with more secure, higher quality homes and give councils the tools they need to crack down on the minority of non-compliant landlords.
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. It is unacceptable that some households that rent privately pay a large proportion of their income to live in poor conditions. To this end, the Government intends to introduce a legally binding Decent Homes Standard in the private rented sector for the first time.
The Government is standing by its manifesto commitment to abolish Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and strengthen landlords’ rights to repossession. Under the new system, a tenancy will only end if the tenant chooses to leave or if the landlord has a valid ground for possession. Not only will this improve security for tenants and protect them from having to move unexpectedly at short notice, but it will also empower tenants to challenge poor practice without the fear of retaliatory action. Repossession grounds will be strengthened to make sure that landlords with a valid cause can regain possession of their property.
To further support tenants, the Government will increase the minimum notice period for rent increases to two months. The use of rent review clauses will also come to an end. The creation of a single Ombudsman that all private landlords must join will strengthen tenants’ ability to hold their landlord to account. A new digital Property Portal will be established which will help landlords understand their obligations and support local authorities to crack down on poor practice.
These are important measures in ensuring that renters can benefit from more secure and higher-quality homes. I understand that the Government will set out its next steps following on from the White Paper in due course.
I appreciate the strength of feeling on this matter and I know that many in the private rented sector want to see these reforms brought forward as quickly as possible. I am assured that there is a strong commitment across government to reform the private rented sector for landlords and tenants alike. Let me assure you that I will follow any developments closely.