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Generation Rent slams latest delay in Rental Reform laws

Despite a string of pledges on rental sector reform delivered in recent days by government ministers, including Housing Secretary Michael Gove, activists in Generation Rent are upset that legislation will not see the light of day this year.

With little over three weeks left until Christmas, Gove has now pledged that the Renters Reform Bill, containing measures such as the scrapping of Section 21 eviction powers for landlords, will be introduced in 2023.

However, Generation Rent has tweeted: “Michael Gove says we won’t see the Renters Reform Bill until 2023, when it will have been 4 years since the original promise to #EndSection21. In that time thousands more people will face homelessness at the whim of their landlord. #RentersAreWaiting”

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In a series of mainstream media appearances last week Gove made clear the government’s intentions.

For example, on BBC Radio 4’s Today show he said: “We’re going to be bringing forward more legislation to improve the position of people in the private rented sector. We want to make sure that people in the private rented sector are confident that local government is on their side. We will bring forward legislation that will give them better protection. It will come in the next calendar year, so 2023.”

The details of the Renters Reform Bill, contained in a parallel White Paper, were released back in June but the government - at that time led by Boris Johnson - did not set out a timetable for implementation.

The measures included a ban on Section 21 evictions and the extension of the Decent Homes Standard to the private rental sector.

It also pledges an end to what it calls “arbitrary rent review clauses, give tenants stronger powers to challenge poor practice, unjustified rent increases and enable them to be repaid rent for non-decent homes.”

It will be illegal for landlords or agents to have blanket bans on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits. And it will make it easier for tenants to have pets, a right which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse.

All tenants are to be moved onto a single system of periodic tenancies, which in the government’s words mean “they can leave poor quality housing without remaining liable for the rent or move more easily when their circumstances change.” A tenancy will only end if a tenant ends or a landlord has a valid reason, defined in law.

There will be a doubling of notice periods for rent increases and tenants will have stronger powers to challenge them if they are unjustified.

 

The government says it is also “giving councils stronger powers to tackle the worst offenders, backed by enforcement pilots, and increasing fines for serious offences.”

There will also be a new Private Renters’ Ombudsman to enable disputes between private renters and landlords to be settled quickly, at low cost, and without going to court.

What the government calls “responsible landlords” will be able to gain possession of their properties efficiently from anti-social tenants “and can sell their properties when they need to.”

There will be a new property portal that will “provide a single front door to help landlords to understand, and comply with, their responsibilities as well as giving councils and tenants the information they need to tackle rogue operators.”

In recent weeks the new housing ministers appointed by the latest Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, have made clear that the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is still working on the fine detail of the Bill and that this would be introduced into the Commons shortly.

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    The slippery one will probably do this, I see this coming soon.

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    The few who manage to get a rental will enjoy the benefits, the rest will be shut out of the PRS as availability continues to reduce and rents increase.

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    You surely don't mean the benefits of Gove's planned legislation?

     
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    Landlords will serve Section 21 notices before this law comes into force. Nobody in their right mind will hand over their properties indefinitely to tenants.

  • Elizabeth Campion

    The sad thing is the good landlords will give up on the beauroracy first

  • Kevin

    I’m not overly concerned about being unable to get the good tenants out, but would like more detail on how they are going to speed up the process for getting rid of those that are anti social or stop paying rent.

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    I agree. I provide medium to long term homes for good tenants for as long as they want them. I don't routinely need the ability to evict good tenants.
    However, I'm not remotely comfortable with losing Section 21 until Section 8 has been improved and we have had at least a couple of years of seeing it working in a robust and timely fashion. Weeks not months.
    Also a clear understanding of when a mediocre tenant tips into Section 8 territory. What evidence is required for ASB?

     
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    Totally agree Kevin and Jo. I have already made these points in a previous post.
    So far there has been no mention of how section 8 and more importantly the court systems are going to be streamlined, and like you say, we need to have those in place and proven to be working before secrtion 21 is removed.
    Cart before the horse again!

     
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    There is no real good reason to get rid of S21. It's the foundation of PRS which gave landlords and lenders the confidence to let properties again after the extreme disastrous protections given to tenants beforehand.

    There are far too many fair and reasonable landlords who say they are not concerned about losing S21. 'I always pick good tenants' and 'I've never had to use it' bla bla bla.

    S21 is a healthy deterrent to would-be bad tenants. Once it goes the tenants will rule the roost. Good tenants will be free to turn bad. There are LL's on here who have had good tenants for many years. They have now served a S21 due to all the current nonsense and the good tenants have now turned bad.....

    I think many LLs should wise up and push back and protect their rights by being more vocal. Perhaps it's too late.... Ben Beadle is just a wet weekend. Not standing up for LLs at all.

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    I agree with you, my tenants are good and long term, come what may after these I am selling anyway, so there will be definitely no new ones, but if I want to sell due to EPC C… will they turn bad ? This could be really bad.

     
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    They could turn bad Simon. Even if it's for EPC reasons they may look at you like a rich landlord and you should pay out and do it. Do it for them or the environment. My tenant has 'told me' I should insulate my house.

    If you want to insulate the facades do builder's want that work? They will choose empty houses first. If you can't afford it do tenants care?

    If you want to retire do they care? All they will see is you are making them move and they probably won't like it. It's all about the tenants now!

     
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    I am not happy with the removal of Section 21 at all under so circumstances the very foundation of all Private Lettings. full stop.
    So 200’000. Landlords have sold up already that means hundreds of thousands of Tenants have been needlessly disrupted, costing billions and adding greatly to the misery of homelessness, some heads in the Department needs to roll.
    What a farce why would you want to get rid of what you have just to replace it with something else. Hmm’ unless something different and worse which has already destroyed Private Sector, so don’t go pulling the wool about S.8 going to be better they are 2 different things.
    Time for Mr Michael Gove to go as well and bring his White Paper with him.

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    As Michael said above why get rid of S21 to replace it with something else? Why? Because it will be WORSE for landlords.

    LLs can get their property back? The reasons will be "written into law"? Thanks, but no thanks. Why have LLs been prevented for years from issuing a S21 because they can't prove they gave a tenant a gas safety certificate. Who cares??? I want my ******* property back. Get out. But the law was against LLs or many years.

    I currently have an issue with the Tenant Fees Act. The agent took a holding deposit. Missed the pence when taking the balance for the 1st month's rent. So the agent has taken a prohibited payment which I have had to correct. My solicitor missed that and waited after the expiry of the first S21 they issued to tell me that.... There's far too many trip hazards for landlords everywhere now. £30,000 fines etc.

    Who has faith that anything from this government will be fair and reasonable? No need to mention Labour getting in in 2 years time. Historically landlords may have considered them to be a worse option...

    As Ellie has said I think it's time to pull money out of the UK and invest it abroad somewhere where the left hasn't infected policy making with their woke nonsense.

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    Sensible fears, the nearer this gets the more its worrying me.

     
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    It's a great worry for me. I have my house up for sale on Rightmove and Zoopla through an online agent. I am at the mercy of some judge who has to decide whether it's 'genuinely marketed for sale'. The tenant has endless complaints about the house so I have to contend with retaliatory eviction defences! Being for sale is supposed to override this. There's no law that says I must have an agent.

    As you can see S21 is already watered down and getting your property back is a problem. I am not losing S21 so I'm going. Notwithstanding EPC issues, and Labour coming in etc.

     
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    Why should it always or ever be necessary to involve the Court system to end a Tenancy Contract. The Contract has a start and end date which can be anything from 6 months to 7 years for Assured Shorthold Tenancies. For those of you who are happy with long term Tenancies nothing stopping you but I can’t see you signing up front for 7 years in advance.
    It all very well after the event saying you had them for years when you knew you had the protection of Section 21 as you went and simply kept renewing subject to both parties agreement or in more recent times it ran probably indefinitely on Periodic month by month usually basically an extension of original Contract until either party served notice they wanted to end it, what was wrong with that nothing .
    The Tenants usually gives a months notice to end a Periodic if that’s the case, otherwise when a Contract ends it ends unless renewed or allowed to go Periodic. I don’t mind letting them have 2, 3, or 4 months notice to leave provided the rent is paid and no Court case or if they want to go to Court
    the outcome should be exactly the same , ‘ , no point in going there. Look what that would save freeing up the Court System immediately.
    There’s no getting away from it ownership is non negotiable and Paramount end of.
    Mr Michael Gove think again .

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    Agree. There should be no court. The owner of the property is entitled to their own property back at the end date. As you say it takes up unnecessary court time.

    Plenty of delays in courts already and these incompetent public sector people and so called housing charities want to add to that too.

     
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    Perhaps it is time for a concerted and united push to convince govt that we will, in our 10's of thousands, serve section 21 noltices as a matter of principle if it is scheduled to be removed before section 8 changes and court streamlining have been put in place and operated for long enough to see they are working properly, for at least 2 years as Jo suggested earlier!

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    I've done my S21 already.

    They are proposing to have an 'independent' ombudsman. When he gets involved can you imagine how many times a landlord will win the argument? I predict 0%. Who will wind up paying for it? The LL of course.

     
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