Housing minister Eddie Hughes (pictured, 2nd from right) has given the strongest indication to date which of the government’s proposed rent reform policies are to be included within its much-expected White Paper.

The Walsall North MP told a fringe meeting at the Conservative party conference in Manchester that both a landlord register and a lifetime rental deposit scheme in England were set to go ahead.

Landlords may have some breathing space before they do – Hughes said his officials were still ‘half way’ through the policy formation process, indicating that the White Paper is unlikely to be published until the New Year.

The minister also said he was keen that the new measures would ‘not have unintended consequences’ for either landlords or tenants and that therefore his department was proceeding carefully.

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The housing ministry has form on this front – for example its Tenant Fees Act has made it harder, not easier, for tenants with pets to rent homes – many MPs, Lords and pet campaigners have argued.

Landlord register

Hughes said a landlord register would only pull together information already available from different sources, and that similar schemes in both Scotland and Wales had already been successfully implemented without driving out landlords from the private rented sector.

Other speakers at the event including Grimsby MP Lia Nici (pictured, far right) also said that it was time English councils were able to understand who the landlords are within their boundaries, and which properties they rent out.

Hughes also revealed that the proposed lifetime deposit scheme, which would enable tenants to ‘passport’ their deposits from tenancy to tenancy would not expose landlords to extra financial risk and cost, as many have feared.

Hughes said his department had experts looking at how it would work best, but that it would most likely be an insurance-backed scheme. LandlordZONE understands this is likely to be similar in form to the ‘alternative deposit’ schemes available within the rental sector.

The meeting, which was organised by centre-right thinktank Onward and sponsored by Shelter, also discussed the government’s plans to abolish ‘no fault’ Section 21 evictions, during which the minister gave assurances that the new system would offer tenants security from retaliatory or unnecessary evictions but also enable landlords to repossess properties for good reasons – such as to sell up or move back in.

20 COMMENTS

  1. How can an organisation like Shelter sponsor a meeting at the conservative party conference? It just shows that money talks. Where is NLRA’s input?

  2. Deposit Passport?

    How does this work when a Tenant leaves one property and there is a dispute about deductions for damage etc

    The new Landlord would not have access to the Deposit security as the Deposit may no longer exist.

  3. If lifetime deposits consist of an insurance backed scheme then the insurance companies will want to be paid for this. If the Landlord pays then this will put rents up even higher. I can’t imagine tenants will be happy to pay for an insurance policy as if the property is looked after then currently it costs the tenant nothing. Either way it’d cost the tenant more than now. I wonder why Shelter & their ilk don’t mention this?

    • My problem is, at least with deposit protection schemes it’s not their money they are having to pay out in the event of a claim. Insurance companies have a vested interest in not paying out.

  4. If the correct questions are asked then a LL register would reveal mass mortgage fraud by LL.

    That would compel lenders to call in loans.

    50% of the PRS is mortgaged.

    Most of those mortgages are BTL.

    Few of them permit SA; AirBnB, letting to DSS tenants, FHL etc.

    Mass mortgage fraud is currently occurring.
    A LL registration process will reveal all those fraudster LL.
    Such LL would be forced to return to AST lettings if they didn’t wish to have their mortgages called in.
    All DSS tenants would have to be evicted where lenders do not permit them.

    There would be mass homelessness and LL bankruptcies if the correct questions were asked.

    We should also not forget the millions of fraudulent tenancies that are currently being provisioned by Accidental LL.

    They who are letting with residential mortgages WITHOUT CTL.

    Millions of tenants would be made homeless if the correct questions for LL registration were asked.

    I do wonder if Govt has even considered these issues.

    • Whilst it’s is not quite kosher, it’s hardly fraud. I’d argue the fraud is the lenders hiking rates for exactly the same set of financial circumstances, only one is a residential mortgage and the other is a BTL. Sure, it makes repossession potentially a bit more difficult, but not 2% on the rate more difficult.

  5. The white paper won’t have the unintended consequences if you don’t bring it in.
    What do they want a Landlord Register for when they have it already in the form of HMO licensing schemes, the way its going they’ll have every property licensed and know already who ever one is anyway, they have no shortage of information from Revenue, c/tax, land Registry, Insurance Companies etc,
    Life time Deposit means a permanent non Deposit and another load of administration for nothing. The Scheme as proposed is a far bigger burden than no Deposit rendering the Property with no Protection, leave it alone and find a job you know so about.

    • Currently there is no tie up of information as far as lenders are concerned.

      Govt may know who tenants are but lenders don’t.

      Lenders have no way of checking that LL are complying with mortgage conditions.

      Nobody ever asks a LL to provide proof that they are complying with mortgage conditions.
      A proper LL Registration system would require that information and lenders would be advised.

      That would scupper a lot of LL.

      Millions of tenancies are provisioned fraudulently by LL breaching their mortgage terms and conditions.

      Of course lenders know this but they don’t wish to know about it as they would be obligated to call in mortgages or require LL to be compliant with existing mortgage conditions.

      This would cause mass homelessness and LL bankruptcies.

      Govt introduces a LL Register at their peril!

  6. “Hughes said a landlord register would only pull together information already available from different sources”

    And when the exact same argument was put forward for Identity Cards it was roundly dismissed!!!

    So how come its ok to apply that argument to the PRS?

    • The reason would be that it would enable Govt to bankrupt or otherwise force lots of LL out of the PRS.

      It must be remembered that all Govt policy directed at the PRS has the ultimate objective of forcing small LL out of business.

      Govt wants the PRS totally controlled by large Corporate LL who coincidentally will be Tory Party donors!!

      The small LL is an irritant for the Tories.

      A LL Register would be a very effective way to get rid of all the fraudster LL who are breaching lender conditions.

      Let us also not forget all the fraudster unmortgaged LL who are letting in breach of freeholder and insurance conditions.

      Whatever way you look at it the PRS thrives on LL fraud.

      A LL registration system would force a lot of these LL out of business or force them to let on AST single household basis.

      Just how many of those LL in Devon offering their properties on AirBnB were complying with lender conditions!?

      I suggest NONE of them were.

      To eradicate more LL all Govt has to do is ensure that lenders know who is renting LL properties.

      That wpuld force most LL to revert to AST letting which is unviable.

      Those LL will be forced out of business which is exactly want Govt wants.

      Fraudster LL are UNFAIR competition for LL who do comply with lender; freeholder, insurance and Council conditions.

      The sooner they are put out of business the better for the remaining compliant LL.

  7. As a LL for over 22 years, my standard is and has always been would I be happy for my mum to live in the property? I get fed up of the various comments and threats to tighten legislation because of rogue LLs, when I know that most LLs do their very best for tenants, especially over the last year or so with Covid, whilst still trying to make a living.
    I believe that tenants are entitled to a good standard. However when I got one of my properties back recently, I found that the tenant had caused over 12K of damages.
    Therefore i have to find the the gaping financial shortfall to put things right.
    It is currently difficult enough to get any of the deposit back from DPS as things stand, it may not be worth renting out at all with a lifetime deposit scheme with that sort of tenant.
    Also it feels to me as though any LL register will incur yet more fees. That being the case the cost would need to be passed on to the tenant and there is a limit to how much they will be able to pay.
    I can fully understand and appreciate why many LLs are selling up.The contents of the White Paper will help me make up my mind. Ifs it’s too tenant biased, there may some more good tenants looking to the council for housing.
    Perhaps a reality check is timely – It may be the tenants home but NOT their property!
    The vast majority of LLs are good and reasonable.

    • Like other LL who have commented and decided to exit the PRS I’m one of them.
      One flat on market for a week and sold.
      CAN’T wait not to be an AST LL!

      My advice is for you to sell up.
      Don’t delay.

      With S21 being abolished using S8 will be a nightmare no matter how much the Govt states it will enhance the S8 process.

      If it gives effectively a similar S21 facility then why abolish S21.

      Nope believe me repossessing from feckless rent defaulting tenants will be an even longer and more expensive process than it already is.

      Like you I have provided excellent accommodation.

      Didn’t stop me being ripped off for literally hundreds of thousands of pounds by feckless rent defaulting tenants!

      Being an AST LL is now far too risky.
      You simply CAN’T get rid of rent defaulters quickly.
      That undermines the business model.

  8. I think that there should be an all party approach to this with the idea of it being a long term fix, not just party politics or which voter group can shout the loudest. I see the PRS as a partnership between the property tenants who are looking for a home and the landlords who are looking to provide that home for a FAIR return. You have to look beyond the accidental landlord as they are transitional whilst they change properties or dispose a property. It is to have a fair system for BOTH parties that creates a stable and sustainable market place. I have been a LL for over 20 yrs with a portfolio of properties, so I have had good tenants and bad tenants. I am for a register of LL if this is an aid to drive out rougue LL, I have had tenants who want to move because of the poor state of the property, when visiting those properties it is blatant that the LL has been taking profit without maintenance. So as LL we have to get our house in order then we have to have a system where it easy to deal with those tenants who are also rogue, so that they cannot flip properties leaving debt and mess behind them. If there was an insurance system that was paid by the tenant that utilised their National Insurance number (so does not mater if using aliases) this would then ensure that those rogue tenants would increase as there are claims against them, if they can’t get insurance then they cannot get rentals unless there is a fallback govt scheme for them. This would be flagged up to potential LL so you know the risk when you take them on. This would encourage tenants to treat properties and LL fairly. If S21 was adjusted so that you can be served for being a nuisance or antisocial behaviour (needs to be logged with local authority by independent persons) or if your Deposit insurance is withdrawn. Etc. This may help drive out rogue LL and tenants or more importantly bring them into line. I am sure that rent rises have been partly been driven by bad experiences with tenants and the financial loss which would cost too much to recover (if ever) especially if you know where the tenant has moved to!

    • All party? If Labour had their way, particularly the likes of Rayner and McDonnell, they would force landlords to sell to tenants at a discount, and have stated as much. Tories may not be the friend of landlords, but Labour are the enemy.

  9. No problem that cannot be fixed easily. If they require the Landlords name address etc all they have to do is, look at the Council records. Who pays the Water, electricity, etc etc etc.? In Wales Rent Smart Wales, have a very inept name, should know the names, addresses etc of the Landlords. Indeed you cannot be granted a Licence unless you sit a 2 day examination. We have just completed ours. How absolutely ridiculous. Even some of the course contents are inaccurate! The council can gain a lot of extra revenue if their Enforcement Officers got off their backside and toured the area they are responsible for. Large fines are permitted. Let them work for a living instead of gaining high salaries for doing nothing.

  10. ps. When we last were between tenants, we had a prospective tenant who was keen to rent our house. He stated that of most of the houses he had seen to date, “I would not even let an animal live in them”. We had just found our tenant before he arrived and he has been our tenant for the last five years. We operate on a “mutual respect” basis.

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