Government Releases its Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper
The government released its Fairer Private Rented Sector white paper recently, leaving many landlords and letting agents unhappy about some of the points within it. The paper from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities laid out the government’s plans to deliver both flexibility and stability for renters, as well as improving the standards of homes in the private rented sector and to help renters become buyers.
However, it intends to achieve this in a manner that has caused concern for those who rent out properties. Most notably, the abolition of Section 21 evictions and removing a blanket ban on renting to pet owners and those with children, which landlords groups feel may leave home owners powerless in a tenancy.
What Does the Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper Say?
There are 12 action points in the Fairer Private Rented Sector white paper:
Private rented properties will need to meet the Decent Homes Standard. This implements minimum standards for bathrooms and kitchens, as well as removing health and safety risks.
The department will run pilot schemes in areas where there is a need to accelerate raising standards
End Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions. The only ways to end a tenancy will be through the tenant’s choice or if the landlord has grounds to regain possession. This could be due to damage to the property, for example.
Refine the reasons that landlords can give for possession, including anti-social behaviour, persistent arrears or for the sale of the property.
Restrict rent rises to once a year, end rent review clauses and increase the options for tenants to dispute excessive rises.
Create a landlords’ ombudsman which all landlords must join and which will resolve disputes
Speed up court proceedings and strengthen mediation services.
Create a property portal to contain all the information that landlords, tenants and the local authority need to know.
Strengthen the powers of local authorities to crack down on criminal landlords.
End blanket bans by landlords on renting to those with children and people on benefits. The intention is to extend this to prison leavers and other groups.
Stop landlords from “unreasonably” refusing to allow pets in rental properties.
Look into whether tenants can move a deposit from one property to another, without having to save for a second deposit before the return of their previous money.
What Are Landlords Saying?
Research by Total Landlord Insurance found that 60% of landlords were opposed to the abolition of Section 21, with 59% against the removal of blanket bans on renting to people with children or those on benefits. 57% wanted to keep the right to refuse to allow pets in their properties.
There are some sweeteners expected from the government to ease these blows. This includes providing support to landlords who rent to people on benefits. However, that is unlikely to persuade many.
On the other side, the research found that a majority of landlords were in favour of restrictions on rent increases and supported the creation of an ombudsman.
With even more admin to sort through as a result of the Fairer Private Rented Sector white paper, your time is growing ever more precious. This is why we take your property management off your hands. We can carry out your tenancy admin, maintenance, renewals and more, carrying out a professional and efficient service for your tenants. See the Make Lettings Easier page for more details.