Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has spoken out against landlord registration and rent controls in a speech to MPs.
He told the House that regulation private landlords is likely to halt investment in buy to let, cut choice for tenants and increase the costs of renting.
Pickles explained that making laws for the private rental sector was a balancing act.
On the one hand, he said, landlords need protection from bad tenants and those who do not pay rents or damage their homes, while tenants need safeguards against bad landlords, excessive fees and fear of losing their home.
“I have set out that we will develop a code of practice on the management of property in the private rented sector,” he said. “This code will set out what landlords, letting agents and property managers should do when providing tenants with homes.
“It will make clear that it is their responsibility to maintain the property to an acceptable standard to prevent tenants having to pay for repairs out of their own pockets.”
One proposal is to give councils the power to recoup housing benefits from landlords providing homes of a poor standard.
Pickles also revealed the government is meeting mortgage lenders to see if restrictions on tenancy agreements lasting more than a year can be eased.
“We also know that there are some bad tenants out there; we will work with landlords to identify any improvements that can be made to the eviction process, so that the law-abiding landlords have confidence that they can get their property back if a tenant stops paying the rent and which will provide them more confidence to offer longer tenancies,” he said.
Another proposal he confirmed was the government’s intention to back the £10 billion Build for Rent program for developers to build homes to rent rather than sell.
“These will be high quality developments that will drive up standards in all areas of the sector. To ensure delivery, quality and affordability, we have appointed a specialist taskforce to promote the scheme to the wider industry,” said Pickles.