Speaking at the 8th annual RESI Conference at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales, Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis Thursday said that the private rented sector will be a key battleground for the forthcoming general election in May, less than 8 months away.
The Minister used his address at the conference to confront corporate backed investors with the Government’s aim of prioritising large scale corporate investment in the residential rental market.
Mr Lewis laid into the Labour and Liberal Democrat Private Rented Sector (PRS) policies, and in particular Ed Miliband’s April announcements on housing policy. Lewis said: these polices could be used to frustrate good landlords and lead to higher rents. He said that rent control just does not work and leads to fewer properties on the market and higher rents.
Adding that unnecessary regulation that strangles industry in red tape and introducing laws dictating length of tenancies are a mistake which will make life unnecessarily difficult for landlords and investors.
He said that private renters were overwhelmingly happy with standards in the rental market, quoting a figure of 84% as being happy with the accommodation they are in and that rent increases have been below inflation, including those in London.
Speaking about Sarah Teather’s private member’s bill on revenge evictions, the Minister said the Government supports this in principle, but that it must not be used to frustrate good landlords.
The government has vowed to work to outlaw so-called ‘revenge evictions’ that destroy a tenant’s right to expect to rent a safe and secure home.
Ministers gave their backing in principle Thursday to Sarah Tenther’s Private Member’s Bill to:
“stop the small minority of rogue landlords who, rather than meet their legal duty to keep their properties at a reasonable standard and remove health and safety hazards, instead evict tenants simply for asking for essential repairs to be made – on the condition that the Bill only targets bad landlords and cannot be used by tenants to frustrate legitimate evictions.”
Communities Minister Stephen Williams said Thursday that Sarah Teather’s Bill would help root out a minority of spiteful landlords and ensure that hard-working tenants are not afraid to ask for better standards in their homes.
The Bill would extend the existing restrictions on a landlord’s power to evict, where they don’t protect a deposit or have a licence they are required to hold, to situations where a health and safety hazard has been identified by environmental health officers.
The Government has stated that: “Whilst the vast majority of landlords offer a good quality professional service a few rogues shirk their legal responsibilities and use the threat of eviction to silence tenants from rightly speaking out against sub-standard and dangerous accommodation.”
Accepting a petition from Shelter on revenge evictions, Stephen Williams said:
“Our private rental sector is a vital asset, providing a home to 9 million people across the country. So I’m determined to root out the minority of rogue landlords that give it a bad name. That’s why we’re backing Sarah Teather’s Bill to outlaw revenge evictions once and for all – ensuring tenants do not face the prospect of losing their home simply because they’ve asked for essential repairs to be made.”
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) September 11, 2014