Houses in England

Landmark housing reforms introduced by government

The government is, today, introducing the Renters’ (Reform) Bill to Parliament, with eleven million tenants set to benefit from safer, fairer and higher quality homes.

Tenants will benefit from an overhaul of housing laws that will see the government abolish section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction, which was one if the Conservative Party’s commitments in its 2019 manifesto. This should give tenants the confidence to challenge landlords that are providing a poor standard of housing, without having to be worried about losing their home.

More than two million landlords are also set to benefit from new changes. Such changes include measures that make it easier for landlords to recover their properties when they need to, allowing them to sell it, allow a family member to move in, or reclaim the property when tenants choose not to pay rent. Where tenants have been irresponsible and damage has been caused, or tenancy agreements broken, notice periods are also to be reduced.

Legislation is also set to be brought forward by the government, with the aim of:

  • Applying the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector for the first time. This gives renters safer, higher quality homes and remove the blight of poor-quality homes in local communities. This will contribute to the government’s levelling up agenda of halving the number of non-decent rented homes by 2030.
  • Making it illegal for landlords and agents to have blanket bans on renting to tenants that are receiving benefits or have children. This will help to make sure that no family is discriminated against when they are seeking somewhere to live.
  • Giving councils stronger enforcement powers, as well as introducing a new requirement that councils report their enforcement activity, helping to further target criminal landlords.

Michael Gove, Housing Secretary, said:

“Too many renters are living in damp, unsafe, cold homes, powerless to put things right, and with the threat of sudden eviction hanging over them. This government is determined to tackle these injustices by offering a New Deal to those living in the Private Rented Sector, one with quality, affordability, and fairness at its heart.

“Our new laws introduced to Parliament today will support the vast majority of responsible landlords who provide quality homes to their tenants, while delivering our manifesto commitment to abolish Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions. This will ensure that everyone can live somewhere which is decent, safe and secure – a place they’re truly proud to call home.”

The government has made strong progress in its mission to increase protection for tenants, with this including the handing over of more power for councils as they look to get rid of criminal landlords. Examples of government progress in the last decade comes through the Housing and Planning Act 2016 (which allows councils to introduce banning orders on criminal landlords) and the Tenant Fees Act 2019 (shields tenants from excessive deposits and fees).

Acting Director of Generation Rent, Dan Wilson, said:

“The Renters’ Reform Bill is a huge opportunity to improve the lives of the 111 million people who now rent from private landlords in England. Arbitrary Section 21 evictions make it impossible for tenants to put down roots and report problems about their homes with confidence. Abolishing them will take away much of the stress of renting and improve communication and trust between tenants and landlords. The new Property Portal and Ombudsman have the potential to make it much harder for criminal landlords to operate.

“These reforms wouldn’t be happening without the tireless campaigning of members of the Renters Reform Coalition and thousands of renters over many years. We look forward to reading the Bill and working with ministers and parliamentarians to make sure the legislation achieves what it sets out to do.”

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