This follows the resignation of Eddie Hughes, the junior minister who was the architect of the Rental Reform Bill and the Fairer Rented Sector White Paper. Hughes tweeted yesterday: “I have decided to hand back by red box in return for the opportunity to spend yet more time working for my constituents in Walsall North, championing their causes in Parliament. Thank you to all in the rough sleeping & housing sectors for support during my time as a Minister.”
In response Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns for Propertymark, stated: “A change of minister will add to the uncertainty the proposals within the renters’ reform white paper have created among the landlords our member agents represent, specifically the lack of protections against anti-social behaviour with the removal of Section 21 notices and the move away from fixed-term tenancies.
“We’re ready to work closely with whoever replaces Eddie Hughes to ensure that if the private rented sector is to be reformed, it is fair, balanced and workable, and goes ahead without any further delays.”
Activist groups such as Shelter and Generation Rent expressed their disappointment at the departure of Hughes, who is widely attributed at swinging the balance of power from landlords to tenants with his various proposals.
Just hours after Hughes announced his departure another junior housing minister - Marcus Jones - announced he too was going.
Remaining at the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will be other junior ministers Paul Scully (local government) and Lia Nici (levelling up). It is thought further appointments to the now-vacant posts have been temporarily suspended while there is uncertainty over the Queen’s health.
Meanwhile pro-tenant groups have been outspoken at saying the energy cost cap measures introduced by Prime Minister Liz Truss yesterday don’t go far enough - for private renters anyway.
Generation Rent took to Twitter to say: “There’s no escaping the fact that the UK needs to cut its gas consumption - for climate, security and the economy. But private renters are getting very little help with this. The reason so many of us are in fuel poverty is because our homes are more likely to be badly insulated.”
And the activists go on to say: “We need further action from Liz Truss. Make landlords bring their properties up to EPC band C; Insulation grants that meet the scale of the challenge; Protections from eviction and rent hikes that encourage us to ask for improvements and apply for grants in the first place.”
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