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Renting reforms to be within tomorrow’s ‘Levelling Up’ White Paper, sources reveal

Government reveals both landlord register and redress for tenants to be included in its big policy push on 'rebalancing' the UK.

Nigel Lewis

The department of housing has revealed that its long-expected but delayed renting reform measures are to be bundled up into tomorrow’s Levelling Up White Paper, rather than being launched separately.

Michael Gove (pictured) is expected to include his renting sector proposals in his department’s ‘levelling up’ drive which will include housing, transport, economic development as well as the private rented sector.

The proposals, which are expected to be in the form of a White Paper tomorrow, will include a national landlord register, compulsory redress membership for landlords and a new ‘minimum standard’ of accommodation quality across England to be enforced by local councils.

These are the more ‘levelling up’ elements of the Rent Reform proposals first mooted last year by Ministers, although others including the abolishment of ‘no fault’ Section 21 notice evictions and portable rental deposits, may get included too – or introduced later in separate legislation.

Industry reaction

Link to Franchising feature“Dominic Agace (pictured), chief executive of Winkworth, says: “The principle of a landlords’ national register to increase standards is a good one, however, we have to be careful how this is used.

“If it significantly increases the burden on landlord costs, it will be self-defeating as landlords will exit the sector and rents will rise.

“Any register needs to address basic standards for tenants but it also needs to provide incentives for landlords to improve properties, if we want to ensure we have the landlords we need to provide the rental accommodation young professionals need as they start their careers.

“We are already seeing the repercussions of tax changes for landlords, feeding into a shortage of supply and rental increases of up to 20 per cent in some places. We need more quality landlords to enter the sector.”

Sean Hooker - PRS - imageSean Hooker (pictured), Head of Redress at the PRS, says: “It is good news that the long-overdue rental sector proposals are being progressed, but I suspect we won’t get the level of detail we need to understand how they will work.”

Read the 2019 consultation.

February 1, 2022

3 comments

  1. The government urgently needs to do less to help the housing crisis. Every government intervention makes the market worse. The housing shortage is caused by the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act and the best move Boris’s government has made so far has been the limited roll back of State planning controls announced in 2020, with new permitted development rights.

    With tenants numbering many millions, and only a million landlords, the government is caving in to media pressure to default to the standard identity politics template of championing the supposedly oppressed tenants against their landlord oppressors (who have less votes).
    There has in fact been a significant improvement in the standard of shared accommodation in many cities. This has come about, not through State regulation, but by landlords seeing profitable opportunities to supply the market. Then local councils impose Article 4 Notices to control HMOs, which reduces competition and discourages new investment and improvement in standards.

    Instead of following the Scottish National Socialists with their authoritarian Landlord Register the government should throw away its big State playbook, stand back, trust the people and let the heroes of housing – landlords, developers, builders, agents – get on with supplying the homes that Britons need.

  2. Excellent; more Landlords selling up and rents sky rocketing. Not sure how all this helps tenants but at least the meddlers think so;.. Oh hang on, there are significantly less houses to rent now and they are vastly more expensive since the last few Gov meddling sessions over mortgages, pets / cleaning, referencing etc…

  3. When I started in an Estate Agents/Auctioneers Norman Stanley Parkes in Muswell Hill N10 in 1976 , we sold newly converted flats with new 99 year leases and ground rents of £50 per annum . The Freeholds were virtually worthless , never was there an intention that the flat owner would have to pay again to increase their lease , it was just a legal thing to over come .
    Government should in one stroke change the law on all flats to 999 year leases and a peppercorn ground rent , making a fair ownership for all not just freehold houses .
    Steven Heath on LinkedIn

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