Housing Secretary Michael Gove has made a sweeping attack on the conditions of homes run by private landlords.
In a statement backing up the Queen’s Speech - in which the forthcoming Renters’ Reform Bill was previewed - Gove says: “Too many renters are living in damp, unsafe and cold homes, powerless to put it right, and under the threat of sudden eviction.
“The New Deal for renters announced [in the Queen’s Speech] will help to end this injustice, improving conditions and rights for millions of renters.
“This is all part of our plan to level up communities and improve the life chances of people from all corners of the country.”
As well as abolishing Section 21 eviction rights currently in the Housing Act, the new Renters Reform Bill - thought likely to be introduced in Parliament before the summer - will reform Section 8 possession powers for landlords by introducing grounds for repeated incidences of arrears and reducing notice periods for anti-social behaviour.
There will also be a new Ombudsman for the rental sector with the intention of more quickly solving landlord-tenant disputes without needing to go to court.
Meanwhile a property portal will be introduced to help landlords understand their obligations and give tenants performance information to hold their landlord to account.
The Bill has won support from the Local Government Association, representing some 339 English councils and the 22 Welsh councils.
A LGA spokesperson says: “A dramatic recent rise in the number of ‘no fault evictions’ from the private rented sector is putting additional pressure on homelessness services, so we are glad that a plan to strengthen safeguards for private renters is finally in place, allowing renters to challenge poor practice and unfair rent increases without fear of eviction.”
And the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, whose officers work via local councils, also back the measures outlined by the government.
A spokesperson says: “It’s been a long three years since the government announced its intention to ban no-fault evictions. It’s therefore heartening to see the announcement of a Renters Reform Bill, which should help to protect more tenants from homelessness and living in poor housing conditions. The introduction of a national landlord register in England would also be a game-changer for the private rented sector.
“We won’t be able to level up the country without focussing on the fundamentals – improving the places where people live and working to reduce health disparities around the country.”
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