Shelter chief executive Polly Neate says: “The Renters’ Reform Bill is a gamechanger for England’s 11 million private renters. Scrapping unfair evictions will level the playing field.
“For the first time in a long time, tenants will be able to stand up to bad behaviour instead of living in fear.
“This White Paper promises people safety and security in their home, and it makes clear that landlords need to play by the rules. Gone will be the days of families being uprooted and children forced to move school after being slapped with a Section 21 no-fault eviction for no good reason.
“As these plans move through Parliament, they’ve got to keep their teeth to drive up standards and professionalise private renting. For every renter trapped in a never-ending nightmare of moving from one shoddy rental to the next, the Renters’ Reform Bill cannot come soon enough.”
The charity says the Renters Reform Bill “cannot come soon enough” and claims three quarters of private renters in England “have endured poor or dangerous conditions in their home, such as mould, broken boilers, and electrical hazards, in the last year.”
Previous research from the charity also claims a Section 21 eviction notice is served every seven minutes - a statistic hotly disputed by the National Residential Landlords Association.
The Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper marks what the government calls “a generational shift that will redress the balance between landlords and 4.4 million private rented tenants.”
It will ban Section 21 evictions and extend the Decent Homes Standard to the private sector.
It will also end 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.”
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