Levelling up the Private Rented Sector

The government has confirmed that it remains “committed to introducing a Renters Reform Bill in “this session of Parliament” which ends in May 2023.

Government outlined its proposals for the Renters’ Reform Bill in A Fairer Private Rented Sector white paper released in June 2022. The paper builds on the Levelling Up White Paper and sets out plans to fundamentally reform the Private Rented Sector and level up housing quality. The proposed reforms for the private rented sector in England go much further than initially expected, with the government saying that the white paper “marks a generational shift that will redress the balance between landlords and 4.4 million private rented tenants.”

The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee is holding an inquiry into the proposed reforms.

The inquiry will scrutinise the government’s plans to introduce a decent homes standard for the private rented sector; reform the system of tenancies and abolish no-fault evictions; reform the grounds on which landlords can take possession of their properties; and better protect tenants from unfair rent increases. According to the White Paper, nearly 11,000 householders in the private rented sector report having to move because the landlord put up their rent.

The inquiry will also explore the government’s proposals to set up a new ombudsman covering all private landlords, to speed up the court process and to clamp down on landlords who refuse to let to benefit claimants.

Fundamentally, the inquiry will ask the questions, will the proposals result in a fairer private rented sector?

The proposals tilt the balance in favour of the tenant and the inquiry will investigate whether this is a fair and balanced market, good for both landlords and for tenants.

The NHC submitted evidence to the inquiry agreeing that the White Paper represents the right direction for the sector, but that implementing a ‘Fairer Private Rented Sector’ will require an increased level of public service capacity and this will be an urgent factor in reform.

Significant new burdens will arise from the reforms, including enforcement of a new Decent Homes Standard and we have argued that an assessment is urgently needed to establish the resourcing needs across local authorities’ private sector housing function.

The inquiry has held two evidence sessions which can be viewed here