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Minister tries to reassure landlords worried by eviction reforms

rachel maclean

Housing minister Rachel Maclean has sought to reassure landlords that they will still be able to evict troublesome tenants or those who build up rent arrears during an event at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

Speaking at a fringe meeting hosted jointly by thinktank Bright Blue and the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), she said she wanted to ‘do the right thing’ for renters and achieve that by supporting ‘good landlords’. This is to include offerig a 'guarantee' that they can repossess homes in certain circumstances.

“We have to do these things…we want everyone to have a safe and secure home and that’s vital for young people, for everyone and [therefore] for us as a party,” she said.

Maclean went on to mention a recurring theme at the meeting – the pressing need to increase supply in the private rented sector to solve the current imbalance between supply and demand, and the resulting sky-high rents.

The minister said she’s been talking with both the NRLA and individual landlords with portfolios of all sizes as her department has been preparing to get the Renters (Reform) Bill through parliament.

“Of the millions of landlords in the UK the vast majority are good operators who look after their tenants and provide a service to society, and what we don’t want to do is undermine their confidence in the market,” she said.

Maclean added that she is keen to ensure that, while the Government make these “necessary…and right” reforms, landlords aren’t put off investing in the sector.

“As a Conservative I want to make it clear that I support the private ownership of property and people’s right to rent those homes out, assuming they are playing by the rules,” she added.

Able to evict

“Landlords need to be able to evict bad tenants and we’ve taken time recently to ensure our proposals in the Bill will work in practice – I understand that some landlords are worried that [following the removal of Section 21 no-fault evictions] they won’t be able to get their properties back.”

But the minister raised some eyebrows at the meeting when asserting that being pro-tenant ‘was Conservative’.

“I have four children all in their late 20s and 30s and they all rent in the private sector and vote Conservative and there are plenty of people like them who are not weed smokers in gangs or living in crack dens – there are lots of decent hard working people who rent and we need to do the right thing for them,” she said, to mild amusement in the packed room.

Ben Beadle (pictyured),Chief Executive of the NRLA, says:  “Without the confidence of knowing thatwhere they have good cause they can regain their property swiftly, the exodusof landlords from the market will continue. All this will do is make it evenharder for renters to find a place to live.

“The Minister’s comments are welcome,but they need to be backed up by clear plans setting out actions that will betaken and a timeframe for implementation. That must include investment in newstaff and greater use of technology to process cases more swiftly.”


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