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FIRST details of controversial 'new deal' for tenants and landlords published by DLUHC

gove renters reform

Key details of the Government's radical renting reform White Paper have been released this morning by Michael Gove, full details of which are due to be published when his housing minister Eddie Hughes addresses parliament later this morning.

In a statement embargoed for midnight, Gove's Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) promises the '�biggest shake-up of the rented sector for 30 years' targeted at the 21% of private rented sector tenants who '�currently live in unfit homes'.

Following today's announcement, which has an eye on the next election, the PM's levelling-up agenda and the cost of living crisis, DLUHC says it proposes to introduce its Renters Reform Bill before March next year.

The radical proposals, the full nitty-gritty of which are to come, include:

  • Outlawing 'blanket bans' by agents or landlords on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits;
  • For the first time, ending the use of arbitrary rent review clauses, restricting tribunals from hiking up rent and enabling tenants to be repaid rent for non-decent homes. This will make sure tenants can take their landlord to court to seek repayment of rent if their homes are of an unacceptable standard
  • Making it easier for tenants to have pets in their homes by giving all tenants the right to request a pet in their house, which the landlord must consider and cannot 'unreasonably refuse'.
  • All tenants to be moved onto a single system of periodic tenancies, meaning they can leave poor quality housing without remaining liable for the rent or move more easily when their circumstances change. A tenancy will only end if a tenant ends or a landlord has a valid reason, defined in law. 
  • Doubling notice periods for rent increases and giving tenants stronger powers to challenge them if they are unjustified
  • Giving councils stronger powers to tackle the worst offenders, backed by enforcement pilots, and increasing fines for serious offences.

But the White Paper will also include some measures designed to placate landlords, including (as previously announced):

  • A new Private Renters' Ombudsman to enable disputes between private renters and landlords to be settled quickly, at low cost, and without going to court
  • Ensuring responsible landlords can gain possession of their properties efficiently from anti-social tenants and can sell their properties when they need to. 
  • Introducing a new property portal that will provide a single front door to help landlords to understand, and comply with, their responsibilities as well as giving councils and tenants the information they need to tackle rogue operators.

Housing secretary Michael Gove says: 'For too long many private renters have been at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords who fail to repair homes and let families live in damp, unsafe and cold properties, with the threat of unfair '�no fault' evictions orders hanging over them. 

'Our New Deal for renters will help to end this injustice by improving the rights and conditions for millions of renters as we level up across the country and deliver on the people's priorities.'�

What does everyone think so far?

appeal court

David Smith (pictured), partner in the commercial litigation team at JMW Solicitors, says: The exact form of the white paper is uncertain as there have been numerous conflicting leaks.

"More importantly, the final legislation is likely to be quite different. Many landlords and tenants have already said they will rush to do various things based on rumours about the white paper.

"While big changes are coming this is not a time to jump to conclusions and take precipitate action.'�

ben beadle nrla

Ben Beadle (pictured), Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, which has been busy lobbying the government on many aspects of the White Paper including court reform and evictions, says: 'Whilst headline commitments to strengthening possession grounds, speedier court processes and mediation are helpful, the detail to follow must retain the confidence of responsible landlords, as well as improving tenants' rights.

'We will be analysing the Government's plans carefully to ensure they meet this test. A failure to do so will exacerbate the housing crisis at a time when renters are struggling to find the homes they need.

'The eventual legislation needs to recognise that government actions have led to a shortage of supply in the sector at a time of record demand. It is causing landlords to leave the sector and driving up rents when people can least afford it.'�

polly shelter

Polly Neate (pictured), Chief Executive of Shelter, says: 'The Renters' Reform Bill is a gamechanger for England's 11 million private renters. Scrapping unfair evictions will level the playing field. For the first time in a long time, tenants will be able to stand up to bad behaviour instead of living in fear. 

'This White Paper promises people safety and security in their home, and it makes clear that landlords need to play by the rules. Gone will be the days of families being uprooted and children forced to move school after being slapped with a Section 21 no-fault eviction for no good reason."

nathan emerson fraud

Nathan Emerson (pictured), CEO of Propertymark says: 'After waiting three years to see exactly what this reform will look like, we've now got a set of proposals titled '�The Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper'. But there are some elements that don't appear to be so.

"How is it fair that a tenant can simply end a tenancy at a time of their choosing, but an agent or landlord has to present a valid reason that is defined in law?

'Now we have the detail of what's being proposed, we will be closely scrutinising it and working with Ministers to help them understand how on a practical level it will impact our letting agents members and their landlords."


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