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Levelling up White Paper confirms big changes for the private rented sector

Measures that will involve letting agents directly include a national landlord register, a 'decent homes standard' and abolishing Section 21.

Nigel Lewis

levelling up gove

The government has launched its much-anticipated and wide-ranging Levelling Up White Paper including a landlord register, abolishing Section 21 evictions, a national ‘decent homes standards’ and a crackdown on rogue landlords.

These proposals, which have been issued jointly by Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, will include 12 initiatives that, somewhat optimistically given the current administration’s woes, are to last ten years.

This includes the biggest shift of power and government spending from Whitehall to local leaders in modern times with everywhere to get ‘London style’ powers and a mayor.

The 2030 ‘missions’ also promise improvements to regional transport and 5G networks, a clutch of new ‘innovation centres’ and local education upgrades, as well as more government funds to upgrade shabby high streets, reduce crime and restore local pride, including many already consulted-on proposals to improve the PRS.

This includes a proposal that homes in the PRS will have to meet a minimum standard – the Decent Homes Standard.

Also, Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions will further be abolished, ending the unfair situation where renters can be kicked out of their homes for no reason.

Ministers will also consult on introducing a controversial landlords register and will set out plans for a crackdown on rogue landlords – making sure fines and bans stop repeat offenders leaving renters in terrible conditions.

By 2030, more renters will have a secure path to ownership with the number of first-time buyers increasing in all areas; and the government’s ambition is for the number of non-decent rented homes to have fallen by 50%, with the biggest improvements in the lowest-performing areas.

“Not everyone shares equally in the UK’s success,” says Gove.

“For decades, too many communities have been overlooked and undervalued.

“As some areas have flourished, others have been left in a cycle of decline. The UK has been like a jet firing on only one engine.

“Levelling up and this White Paper is about ending this historic injustice and calling time on the postcode lottery.”

Industry reaction

timothy douglas ropa propertymark“Everyone wants to see a crackdown on rogue landlords and safe and secure private rented homes, but additional standards are meaningless unless they are enforced, says Timothy Douglas, Propertymark’s Head of Policy and Campaigns.

“What’s key for ‘levelling up’ the private rented sector is ensuring that local authorities have the staff and resources needed to actively go out, inspect properties and prosecute.

“Abolishing Section 21 has been talked about for a while now by the UK Government but what agents want to know is what will replace it to maintain confidence in the market for landlords.

“Propertymark believes the only workable alternative is to strengthen all grounds for possession and make them all mandatory – this is in-keeping with the spirit of the UK Government’s intentions as tenant’s won’t be evicted unless they have been provided with good reason to do so.

“We await further details but additional commitments from the UK Government to build more genuinely affordable social housing is important because the long-term solution to address the lack of affordability in the private rented sector is to ensure that more social housing is built to reduce housing need.”

Read the proposals in full.

February 2, 2022

5 comments

  1. Direct to Landlord or what we call “Non-Managed” sector is where most of the problems are in the PRS. If it was made so that all rental property had to be handled by qualified industry experts this would solve most of the problems.

  2. I’ve been renting since 2012 at 23 Kensington road failsworth I’ve been abused for many years and still now 7/2/22 by the estate agents medlock estates failsworth Manchester, and the owners they won’t do repairs that are law and must be done under the tenancy agreement I’ve not got a gas safety certificate which is illegal, I’ve not got a energy efficiency certificate yet again must be given to all tenants, the estate agents are not in a redress scheme which is law failure to do repairs Like fixing gas fire not working, boiler hanging off wall, window and doors failed, been server notice by oldham chadderton,environmental health they ignored 2021, loft insolation not to government legal standards, making me a tenant do repairs myself and made to pay for them even though it the owners/ estates agents responsible to complete this is in the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement, leaking taps, damp walls leaking roof/ gutters, cold even with heating on, mouldy, faulty appliances/ wiring which invalidates the electrical certificate, threatened with eviction if I ask for repairs or complain and if I refuse to go because I’ll be homeless with my partner who is a nurse frontline worker and my son also my dog they will try to put my rent up to get rid of us this is a landlords revenge ,I’ve had this since I took my tenancy 2012 this is and has been a nightmare, and has made my health deteriorate over the years, I registered partially sighted and are register disabled , they have discriminated against me and my disabilities,they have come into the property sent in cowboy builders that have damaged my personal items recorded by the environment health senior officer Chadderton Oldham council, I’m still being abused and nothing is done our lives at at risk because of incompetence due to Medlock estates failsworth Manchester and the owners, who I contacted, there reply was there’s nothing I can do ? 😡😡😡😡😡😡 the nightmare is still going on, can someone rehouse us like the council if so contact us or advise us what to do,before someone dies of negligence, dated 7/2/22

  3. Abolish Section 21 – Just clog the Courts with eviction applications.

    No fault eviction has been one of the successes of Housing in the 34 years since the abolishon of newly created Assured tenancies at the start of 1989.

    Sad thing is that the people in power have no idea of the distress and costs placed on the landlord trying to regain posession of their property.

    82% of tenancies are terminated by the tenant, not the landlord.

    Beware of the law of unforseen conseuqences.

    Where is the mooted Housing Court?

    Do not forget that this is all about “Saving Boris Johnson’s job” and nothing to do with anything that may be useful to the UK housing market.

  4. I couldn’t agree more with the comments from Peter Grant………..it’s the ‘rogue agents and landlords’ who will continue to fly under the radar. It’s the decent hard-working Agents, who more often than not, are used as scapegoats in these situations. Instead of tackling the issues at a more drilled-down level, The Government have once again, used a sledgehammer to crack an egg, just like they did when they introduced The Tenant Fees Ban in 2019.

  5. Over 32 years I have been involved in 5 large initiatives to “improve standards” in the industry and have been lucky enough to consult in over 7000 agencies. 2 things have not changed.
    1. The standards, in the sector of the industry cared for by lettings agencies, are predominantly high, being compliant, fair and operated in accordance with the more than adequate legislation. Hence why we are all so shocked at the “rogue agents”.
    2. Additional burdens are enacted by lettings agents setting these standards, but are inevitably “avoided” by the direct to landlord sector and the few agents who never wanted to comply anyway.
    Rather than controlling and adding further challenge, to the regulated and compliant sector, it would be better to increase the “policing” powers of groups such as NTSELAT and to focus on where the issues really are, combined with a public service campaign to advise tenants of the rights they already have.
    As a great friend of mine and 30 year quality agent, said to me, “Over time you realise that this industry is like a glider, the more you tug at the controls the worse it gets, if you just take your hand off the joystick, it will fly itself.”
    With all that hindsight I couldn’t agree more.

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