LUHC Committee publish report on Reforming the Private Rented Sector          

In June 2022, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) published its White Paper, A Fairer Private Rented Sector, which outlines the Government’s long-term vision for the private rented sector (PRS). The Government has confirmed that the proposals are to be implemented this Parliament through a Renters’ Reform Bill. The proposals in the White Paper include the abolition of section 21 and the replacement of fixed-term tenancies with open-ended tenancies. It also focuses on housing quality and the condition of private rented accommodation, which is more likely to be non-decent than homes in other tenures.

In February, the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee – the Committee that scrutinises the policy, administration and spending of DLUHC – published a report into Reforming the Private Rented Sector. The report provides recommendations for government on reform to the PRS, in response to the White Paper. Following a call for evidence from the Committee, the NHC submitted written evidence in August 2022, responding to the questions posed by the Committee around the proposals in the White Paper. Our response was informed by consultation with our local authority member organisations with direct experience of supporting residents in the PRS, and who work to improve and enforce decent standards throughout the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber.

The Committee report cited the NHC on multiple occasions, including on a new decent homes standard (DHS) and incorporating minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) into the DHS. With thermal efficiency in the private rented sector typically poorer than in the social rented sector, the NHC called for the Government to confirm the EPC MEES standard for the PRS, which would accelerate progress towards meeting one element of the DHS. The LUHC Committee recommended that the MEES be incorporated into the DHS with financing solutions included for landlords faced with excessive necessary improvement work costs.

On ending Section 21 evictions, the NHC evidence submission stated that removal of no-fault evictions would be a key step toward increased protection for renters, and that longer tenancies could improve relationships between tenants and landlords. The Committee echoed this view in the report, stating “we conclude that the abolition of fixed-term tenancies, combined with the repeal of section 21, would undoubtedly give tenants greater security of tenure, and we therefore welcome the proposals.”

The NHC hosts a quarterly Private Rented Sector Network for all NHC members working in connection with, or with an interest in, private sector housing and private sector housing reform to discuss day-to-day challenges and track and respond to national policy development. All meetings are Chaired by Dr Julie Rugg, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Housing Policy, University of York.

The next meeting takes place 22nd March 2023, 13.00 – 14.30, online via Zoom, and will focus on the supporting on the cost of living crisis. For further information and to book your place visit MyNHC: