Cherwell District Council has pressed the government to urgently introduce the long-awaited Renters Reform Bill to help it rebalance the relationship between landlords and tenants.
The north Oxfordshire authority has written to Housing Secretary Michael Gove asking him to bring forward proposals as soon as possible. It says it is responding to public concern over the dangers of substandard housing and wants greater powers for local authorities to intervene when it becomes necessary.
There's still no timetable for the Bill, although Housing Minister Felicity Buchan told the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities committee in November that it was a priority and there was a 'desire to get on with it'�.
Councillor Nicholas Mawer, portfolio holder for housing, says making sure everyone has housing that meets their needs is a key commitment but that all too often it finds troubling examples of bad practice, placing more stress and pressure on tenants. 'When required we will not hesitate to take enforcement action to support tenants, and the promised measures - including fresh powers to tackle failings by social housing landlords '� would enable us to do more for our residents,'� Mawer explains.
'We are keen to support this rebalancing of the relationship between tenants and landlords locally and are in conversation with tenants and social housing providers to help shape a new Tenant Charter for our area.'�
The council has form as a proactive authority; in 2020, it began rewarding prompt paying HMO landlords by giving them one of the biggest ever discounts handed out by a local authority. Non-compliant landlords can expect to pay up to �1,050 for a new licence, but compliant landlords can renew a five-year licence from just �450 (�650 for first time applications).