This morning, the government has published its plans to reform the private rental sector in the UK.
A white paper published on Thursday morning sets out plans to prevent private landlords from discriminating against their tenants – meaning that private housing providers can no longer place blanket bans on children, pets, or people on benefits renting their property on those grounds.
However, in a move to appease landlords, Michael Gove also looks set to give them the power to request insurance to cover any potential damage caused by pets – as the 2019 Tenant Fees Act caps maximum deposits at five weeks’ rent.
Further plans also look to abolish the Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions – where a landlord can evict a tenant in two months without giving them a reason – delivering on a policy first announced by the government in 2019.
These changes will form part of a new Renters Reform Bill, intended to make private renting more equitable.
The new bill will also extend the decent home living standard to private housing, five years after 309 Conservative MPs voted down plans for rented homes to be made fit for human habitation following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
This means that homes must now be kept free from serious health and safety hazards, and landlords must keep properties in a good state of repair.
Further changes include the creation of a new Private Renters’ Ombudsman to resolve disputes between private renters and landlords quickly and affordably, without having to go to court; and a new property portal to help landlords understand and comply with their new responsibilities.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “The Renters Reform Bill is a game changer 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.
“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.”
Levelling Up and Housing Secretary Michael Gove said: “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.
“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.”
Feature image – Flickr