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OPINION: Leading property lawyer slams renting reform proposals

Questions are raised over government's ability to fund reforms and whether eviction law changes will chase too many landlords out of sector.

Adam Colenso

property lawyer colenso renting

The government’s recently published “A fairer private rented sector” policy housing paper is likely to be widely welcomed as it refers to action being taken to tackle injustices and to bring an end to damp, dangerous and cold homes.

These objectives in the abstract cannot be criticised.  How, though, any legislation will give practical effect to such laudable aspirations is yet to be seen.

Earlier government policy relating to the all too real problems that currently exist in respect of housing and the cost of accommodation are yet to be turned into legislation or to have any material impact on these problems.

In the post-lockdown era of budgetary discipline, will the government provide the funding needed to bring about such improvements to the rental housing stock?

Bringing an end to the no-fault ground for obtaining possession of assured shorthold tenancies (under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988), making it illegal to have blanket bans on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits and making it more difficult for landlords to refuse to permit tenants to have pets in their property, are all policies that will find support among tenants.

It is difficult, though, to think that legislation bringing about such changes will not discourage significant numbers of landlords from letting their properties.  If the number of properties in the letting market reduces then the standard supply and demand model suggests that rents will go up as a result.

Time will tell, therefore, as to how successful this latest initiative is going to be in terms of improving the lot of the average tenant.”

Adam Colenso is a partner in the property litigation team at Wedlake Bell.

June 20, 2022

2 comments

  1. @Philip Llic – Yes, that’s about the size of it. But Tenants who only have the highest credentials, with both parents working and Home-owners will ever get a tenancy.
    Leave the dross for Local Govt to pick up.
    The Private rented Sector is Not responsible for Social Housing.

  2. These reforms are being brought in to get renter’s on the government side as a government that cares about renters. The government has billions of debt pegged to a bleak financial future, it cant fund, the cost of living crisis escalates and more renters are set to fall into arrears. All bases will be covered, renters will be kept in their homes at the expense of the landlord. Landlords are already bailing out and as the reality hits harder so more landlord will follow.

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