Housing secretary Michael Gove has confirmed a raft of renting reform proposals within the government’s levelling up White Paper, although today’s announcement remains thin on detail.
But what it lacks in depth it makes up for with ambition; the document includes dozens of radical proposals including a heavy focus on landlords.
As expected, there is to be a national landlord register, a crack-down on rogue landlords, the implementation of a national ‘decent homes standard’ and moves to abolish section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions.
Other measures that were within the renting reform consultation such as the lifetime deposit scheme, are not included.
Gove clearly wants the private rented sector to be part of the government’s efforts to level up the UK economically and in relation to opportunity, health, education, policing and devolved decision making and government spending to conclude 12 key ‘missions’ by 2030.
The government also wants to get more renters on the property ladder; and the government’s ambition is for the number of non-decent rented homes to have fallen by 50%, with the biggest improvements in the lowest-performing areas.
“Not everyone shares equally in the UK’s success,” says Gove (pictured).
“For decades, too many communities have been overlooked and undervalued.
“As some areas have flourished, others have been left in a cycle of decline. The UK has been like a jet firing on only one engine.
“Levelling up and this White Paper is about ending this historic injustice and calling time on the postcode lottery.”
Reactions from landlords
Ben Beadle (pictured), Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association says: “Every tenant should have the right to expect properties to be safe and secure.
“The existing Decent Homes Standard however is not the right vehicle with which to achieve this important goal.
“At present, this standard, designed for the social rented sector, does not reflect many of the differences between it and the private rented sector. This includes the types and age of properties in each.
“We will work with the Government to ensure whatever standards expected of the sector are proportionate, fit for purpose and can be properly enforced. Without this, criminal landlords will continue to undermine the reputation of the vast majority of responsible landlords doing the right thing.”
“The White Paper has also re-announced plans to end Section 21 repossessions, consult on a national register of landlords and develop plans to better tackle rogue landlords.”
Eddie Hooker (pictured), CEO of landlord services group Hamilton Fraser, says: “This is an ambitious long term plan containing a myriad of high-level policy announcements aimed at sharing prosperity and power across the country and trying to end some of the unfairness of previous legislation.
“Big on soundbites but less on detail. But this is a launch announcement and no doubt further drilling down will happen over the coming months.
“From a private rental perspective, we all knew what the high-level announcements would be – ending of S.21 and the improvement of the condition of homes in the sector.
“The consultation around a landlord register is more interesting and I look forward to more detail on how and when any changes will be introduced.”
Osama Bhutta, its Director of Campaigns (pictured) says: “Today’s commitment from government is a crucial step forward and offers hope to the millions of people being held back by the housing emergency.
“You cannot level up the country without safe and secure homes. The devil will be in the detail, so the government now needs to set out how it will deliver on its promises.
“Renters have had a rotten deal for years. Far too many have been forced to live in shoddy conditions, afraid to complain for fear of eviction.”