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.

Local pride

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.

michael gove

“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.”

Shelter commentary

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.”

Read the White Paper in full.

51 COMMENTS

  1. The more obstacles the government put in the way of running a business eventually you decide its not worth the hassle for the return you get, I bet I am not the only landlord reducing the size of there portfolio, sometimes there are better ways to invest and get a better return.

  2. I do not fear the introduction of a ‘decent standard’, I am not particularly concerned about a LL register, I can even live with the loss of S21 as long as there is a usable method of evicting non-paying tenants. However the Govt’s pandering to Shelter & GenRent and Boris’ NetZero aim, particularly EPC C, has started my journey to the exit.

    All the commentary now mentions the number of LLs leaving the sector and the Govt’s only response seems to be to get more FTBs onto the housing market. Not all renters want to or can afford to buy – where are these families going to live? Soon their only choice with be overpriced, unsuitable build-to-rent tower blocks.

    The Govt has once again shown that, for all its ‘levelling up’ rhetoric, it has now idea how the average family actually lives.

    • I agree with what you say but would like to add to what you say by pointing out the unfairness of the EPC level C when it applies to PRS only and not social housing. I have a house next to a identical Social Housing property. Mine will have to be a C but next door can remain a D. Both properties are 4 beds which are very sought after. Mine will have to be sold and therefore will be unavailable to renters.

      Once again, renters lose out.

    • Totally agree Tricia. Not being able to give notice if you want your property back means you have effectively handed it over to the tenant. Also, no problem with the Landlord Register – so long as it is not just a vehicle for taking more money from Landlords – but let’s also have a Tenant Register. Especially if we can’t evict them, we should know before entering into a contract with them if they have been problematic to previous landlords.

      • Ha! Luton LLs have to comply with Selective Licensing from 1st April – yet another money-making scheme from the Gov – asked that very question; why can’t tenants have a register? A: Not possible or praticable :Z

      • There will Never be a Tenant Register.

        Govt knows that feckless rent defaulting tenants cause PRS LL losses of over £9 billion per year.

        No idea what losses the SRS suffers.

        Govt will NEVER wish to make it easy for LL to reject tenant applicants if their feckless rent defaulting is revealed from a Tenant Register.

        Conversely good tenants could be registered as well which would make obtaining a tenancy a far easier process.

        Essentially such a Tenant Register would be like a Tenant Referencing Passport which Govt effectively banned with the TFB.

        Govt has no wish to make it easier for PRS to be able to easily detect rogue tenants.

        They have to be housed and Govt relies on mug PRS LL to mistakenly take them on and then suffer from all the issues of these feckless tenants.

        That £9 billion of losses would have to be borne by Govt!

        It much prefers PRS LL to suffer that hit to their pocket.

        Of course Govt never mentions the fact that £9 billion in defaulted rent could have been taxed.

        Ultimately feckless rent defaulting tenants are causing £billions of lost tax to the Treasury.

        That means more tax from those who AREN’T feckless rent defaulting tenants.

        There is no way that Govt will reduce moral hazard for LL by a National Tenant Register.

        • “They have to be housed and Govt relies on mug PRS LL to mistakenly take them on and then suffer from all the issues of these feckless tenants.”
          So true! 🙂

  3. Have we forgotten the legacy of George Osborn.. private landlords leaving the market is exactly what they hoped to achieve.. there will never be a shortage of private properties to rent as the stock will be replaced by corporations entering the private rental market. Lloyds to mention one.

  4. Agree Tricia 100%; and with you Berlingogirl about EPCs. After 11 years the Conservatives have discovered votes in the North and votes by renters. But short-term vote gain will lead to longer term pain for exactly those same voters.

  5. If costs go up, the rent will go up. If the costs go up too much, the properties will be sold. If there are fewer PRS properties, the rent will go up anyway. Decent landlord do not have any issue with providing “Decent Homes”. If you can cope with this constant vilification by government and the press I think the future is still bright.

      • By it’s very nature supply of goods and services is parasitic.

        Why do you naively consider supply of private rental accommodation is the only offer that is parasitic!?

        Let us consider the most significant parasitic organisations……………….namely the supermarkets!!

        Do you suggest that their parasitic business model be ended!!!!??

        That being the case there would be mass starvation.

        O do believe you are a dopey Communist as as such your ridiculous ideology may be safely ignored.

  6. Why do we still call ourselves “landlords”? it carries a sense of brutal repression. What do we actually do? We provide homes for people. We are independent home providers. Who can think of a good word to summarise this?

  7. I’ve always felt there was not enough protection for Landlords but that the tenants seem to have all the rights. Took a tenant to court to get him evicted. Court costs, of £425 we’re awarded to me against him, but the court said pay it to me directly and not to the court. I didn’t know where he moved to so how could I retrieve it? They should have set up a payment plan with him, and if he defaults bring him back to court, instead of costing me more money to have to go through the solicitor and the courts again. Money making racket.

      • Dude that is what us LL are doing.

        Lots of us don’t need to be LL.

        Problem is tenants need private LL.

        But LL don’t need to house tenants if they choose to reduce investment in private rental accommodation.

        Tenants can’t afford to buy which is why they rely on private LL.

        Forcing LL out of business is very bad news for tenants who have no hope of buying the properties LL sell off.

  8. There is scant detail, but I have every confidence that Michael Gove will cock this up by applying non-Conservative interventionist policies creating unintended consequences which will work to the detriment of everyone involved, and he will claim it has been a great success.

  9. NOW is the time for rents to go up 15% across the Country.

    PRS Landlords should be looking out for themselves and ONLY themselves as nobody else will.

    Collectively, we are viewed as scum and that’s not going to change – put those rents up !!

    It’s reported that the South West saw rent increases of 23% last year, so if you didn’t raise yours 15% you are already behind this year.

    Don’t think for a second that your lovely, rent-paying tenant of 5 years won’t stab you if they need to – they aren’t your friend, they’re your customer. Treat them well, but put your business first.

    Landlords need to get money in the bank ready for more of the same nonsense that’s coming.

    It’s time to fight back – and our ONLY way of doing that is by putting up rents – or simply giving in and selling up.

      • Silly old Jeff.

        What effect do you believe LL selling off or up would have on tenants.

        I do believe that you naively believe that tenants will buy those former LL properties.
        Or that those who would ordinarily rent would suddenly become FTB.

        It may have escaped your attention but lots of aspirant buyers can’t afford or refuse to afford to buy.

        Releasing ex-rental properties into the market WON’T magically make such properties affordable for them.

        Very few of these ex-LL properties will be purchased by other LL………think EPC C status etc.

        I’m afraid that such ex-LL properties will inevitably return to the private homes market.

        This WILL result in an ever increasing net loss of private rental properties.

        How will that assist homeless tenants?

  10. Just as some more big boys like Lloyds Bank, Legal & General are aiming to enter the rental market, this so called Tory government wants to level things up by putting more pressure on the smaller boys.
    Lobbying by the banks etc is working, its aim is as always with big business to drive the smaller business out so they can build a monopoly . Just wait a few years and see the likes of Gove, get a seat on the board of Lloyds or G&L etc.
    Glenfell Tower was not owned by a small landlord was it.

  11. Let’s say it like it is: drive out small business so the banks and pension funds can buy up and dominate the market. That’s the levelling up the morons in change are driving towards.

  12. …and I love the way the PRS is always described as being full of these rouge landlords. As if that’s the norm so we HAVE to bring in these tough new changes to keep you all in order! Propaganda obvs

  13. “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.”??? Where does Shelter get this rubbish? Yes there are rogue landlords but they are minority and the tools to stamp on them exist already.

    If S21 is abolished I will use short contracts which can be terminated. Where is the security then?

    • The AST will effectively be abolished when S21 is.

      Not sure what sort of TA will be allowed.

      Highly unlikely your short-term TA will be permitted.

      These issues are just part of why I’m getting out of the game.

      One thing that doesn’t seem to be considered is the attitude of lenders.

      It was the AST along with S21 and S8 that encouraged lenders to offer BTL mortgages.

      I can’t see BTL lenders wishing to remain if repossession is made even more difficult than it already is!
      This could precipitate a collapse in BTL lending which would ultimately cause a collapse in the UK property market!

  14. The idea of a LL Register is as great idea.

    It would cause millions of homeless tenants and mass bankruptcies.

    It would however facilitate massive rent increases for all the good LL that would be left.

    Such a LL register would get rid of hundreds of thousands of fraudulent LL

    Such a LL register would surely reveal those fraudster LL that are letting in breach of their relevant mortgage conditions

    We have about 2 million tenants being housed by fraudster LL who are letting WITHOUT CTL from their residential mortgage providers.

    We have even more fraudster LL housing DSS tenants despite their BTL lender requiring no letting conditions to DSS tenants.

    We also have many fraudster LL NOT advising insurers that they are letting to DSS tenants

    There are many fraudster LL breaching R2R regulations.

    This as someone is housing the over 3 million illegal immigrants.

    If the LL is truly robust it would leave a fully compliant LL base whilst at the same time creating millions of homeless and a probable collapse in the UK property market.

    Gonna be interesting times!!!

  15. I sold up in December 2020. Enough after 33 years in the PRS. I was lucky though, had good tenants over the years with very few problems, but I could see the writing on the wall. Definitely forcing out the small landlord and big business set to takeover in the years to come. Clueless idiot politicians with left-leaning “touch-feely” politics have Ruined the PRS and I didn’t want to wait around for even more nonsense from these fools. Got my money, invested elsewhere in different asset-class. Has its own set of problems though. Nothings easy anymore.

  16. If you want to see where this heading just read the recycled NAZI propaganda spewed out by these hate gangs these bigoted hate fuelled racists masquerading as tenant groups have one ambition to see landlords and their children placed in camps were they will be concentrated together while they carry out their final solution to the landlord problem

  17. I think its a great idea that banks and big business is moving into the PRS.

    They wont settle for less than 10% returns and they cant afford to.

    Your average LL calls Fred the Plumber to do a job.

    But Fred wont be called by Corporate LLs – they just want Fred International to cover their whole portfolio and we all know the likes of Fred International aren’t cheap – so their rents increase again.

    Great news for the small LL as rents are going to go stratospheric soon.

    Sing along, “money, money, money”.

    • well look at not for profit housing associations, add your 10% and they’ll still be some £200 a month cheaper than the prs sector in cheaper areas and even more of a difference in more expensive areas. that really shows how out of touch with reality landlords like yourselves are.
      so yes i also think its a great idea that banks and businesses will become landlords, even at higher % profits they should still be able to undercut by a huge amount.

  18. The only unfairness of the current system is that good landlords are branded with bad ones. We are members of RSW through no choice of our own. They take our money and give us nothing in return.
    No one from neither RSW nor the Local Council have been to check on the house we rent out within the last 5 years since we have had to be compulsory members. Very, very many years ago an Enforcement Officer from the Local Council came, had a look around the first floor, said very nice, can I please have a cup of tea? We asked him if he wanted to see the rest of the house, he declined enjoyed his tea, and was on his merry way.
    Another gentleman came to see the house with a view to renting, and said, phew this is nice. The places I have just viewed were not fit for an animal to live in. This is within around 100yds of our house. We could not deal with him as he only wanted a short let, and we wanted a longer one.
    The question has to be asked WHY DIDN’T THE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER VISIT THE HOUSES NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE? Nowadays they can benefit from the huge fines they are allowed to give for unfit rented accommodation. Councils are always complaining of a lack of funds. So I repeat
    WHY ARE GOOD LANDLORDS CLASSED THE SAME AS BAD ONES? Beryl

  19. I think we are all missing the point as Landlords – what we need is a Landlords Union to enable us to stand up for our Rights and to stand up to the Governments, and stop them from deliberately picking on the Landlords, because as far as we are concerned, we provide a Service to people who need somewhere to live, can’t afford a mortgage and cannot get council housing, and obviously, homeless people – So why should we as Landlords put up with all these ridiculous Rules. I admit we should keep the properties in a safe and liveable order, but most good landlords do anyway! Every other business has some sort of Union and can come out on strike, as such, if they don’t like the ruling – so why Can’t We? There is enough of us. WE NEED A UNION TO PROTECT US OR WE WILL NEVER STOP THE VARIOUS GOVERNMENTS FROM GOING OVERBOARD !! So Lets get on with it and do it!

  20. Love how every time any legislation comes out to protect tenants Landlords are always the first to whine about it and then make up some hilarious lie about “Well then we will leave the sector and there will be a worse crisis!”

    No if you all leave the sector then you will be forced to sell your houses, the houses you are hoarding while we live in a HOUSE SHORTAGE. Unless you are happy to pay 5 lots of mortgages with no income your threats are a laughable joke.

    Also take a look at yourselves, every time the law helps protect tenants the first thing you say is “I lose the rights of MY home”. No it’s NOT your home, the whole point of renting it out is that you are seceding a fair part of control over your home in exchange for money. You can’t have it both ways, no wonder you are the most hated group in the UK, it’s not intolerance, you do it to yourself with the ways you act and speak.

    I mean Christ would it literally kill you to agree that kicking someone out with just 1-2 months notice for no fault is scummy. Come on! I was pro landlord for most of my life but reading the comments on these landlord websites reminds me that so many landlords are completely out of touch and deserve to have their income stripped away.

  21. @Joy Bibb

    You help homeless people and those who can’t get council housing? No you bloody well don’t. Everyone here was complaining like crazy when the government stepped in and stopped landlords discriminating against people on benefits, you all claimed that it was unfair and that as it’s “your house” you can choose to rent how you like.

    Now you turn around and have the gall to say that you “provide a service” to the unfortunate!

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