Lettings News: Government release the Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper

As you may have heard in the news the government released the Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper on the 16th June 2022. 

This document outlines the changes to legislation that they intend to make to reform the Lettings industry. This has been expected for some years now, but we now have a better idea of how a post-reform industry could look.

The key points of the paper are:

  • Abolishment of Section 21 notices, with notices only being permitted for specific, and currently undefined, reasons.
  • Tenancies will be changed to a single system of periodic tenancies, allowing Tenants more flexibility to vacate properties.
  • Blanket bans on renting to families with children and those on housing benefits will be prohibited.
  • Stronger rights for Tenants to have pets, meaning all requests must be considered and can’t be reasonably refused.
  • Notice periods to increase rents will be doubled and Tenants will be given more rights to challenge unreasonable increases.

Whilst the majority of the changes are very much aimed at improving rights for Tenants, there are some changes that will benefit Landlords.

An introduction of a Private Renters’ Ombudsman has been proposed to handle disputes between private renters and Landlords without the need for civil action. The government have also said they want to give Landlords more powers to remove Tenants who exhibit anti-social behaviour and allow them to sell properties when they need to. The official press release can be read here. We would like to stress that for now, this is only a white paper, so the process of this becoming a Bill and finalised legislation has just begun. The proposals may change as consultations and parliamentary readings take place. It is clear the white paper will be subject to parliamentary scrutiny and lobbying from stakeholders within the private rental sector; as a result, it may be subject to amendment. We will as a company ensure we maintain a watching brief on matters.

 

 

What have industry professionals said about the proposals? “After waiting three years to see exactly what this reform will look like, there are some elements that will not be balanced under the current proposals.

We will be closely scrutinising the new White Paper and working with Ministers to help them understand how on a practical level it will impact our letting agent members and their landlords.”Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark “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.”Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of National Residential Landlords Association “Efforts to create a better and world-leading rental sector for tenants and investors is something we very much welcome.

Good landlords know that reform can be win-win, protecting and enhancing renters’ rights but also encouraging residents to feel at home, increasing the time they stay and ultimately benefitting tenants and investors.”Ian Fletcher, Director of Policy at the British Property Federation

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