Landlords will not be able to include clauses to hike up rents just before tenancy agreements are due to expire, as part of a government pledge to address renter insecurity in its upcoming White Paper.
During a Commons debate, Housing Minister Eddie Hughes said while it was for landlords and tenants to agree the amount of rent that should be charged at the outset of a tenancy, it was keen to avoid any unintended negative consequences related to abolishing Section 21, including the use of a mechanism to force tenants out. However, Hughes would not be pushed on the timetable for introducing the Renters Reform Bill which was delayed last year. Labour’s Catherine West MP said there was a huge power imbalance between private landlords and their tenants, which was upheld by existing housing legislation, and urged the government to end Section 21 notices.
Hughes confirmed the Bill would be published later this year but said it was important to consult widely with people from across the sector to ensure it got it right. “Hearing and listening to these views would not only ensure that the White Paper and future legislation actually address the challenges that exist, but help to create a system that works for everyone.”
He stressed he was committed to rebalancing the relationship between tenants and landlords to deliver a fairer, more secure and more desirable private rented sector. “We get it: we understand the challenges that exist in the sector, and we are open to dealing with them. That is why it is so important that we continue to drive through our reforms to ensure that we deliver on our aims.” Added Hughes: “We are aware that we need the support of the entire private rented sector if we are to achieve these goals.”