A think tank that describes itself as “centre right” praises the Renters Reform Bill and claims the fear of landlords selling up is “over-stated.”
Writing on the Conservative Home website, Samuel Bruce - the head of housing and communities at the Centre for Social Justice - says: “Analysis by the Centre for Social Justice reveals that concerns over a landlord exodus and associated decline in rental housing stock are overstated. The number of private rental homes in England has grown, since 2019 despite other significant regulations being introduced since then.”
He praises the Renters Reform Bill, describing it this way: “The strength of the Bill is that it expands rights for good tenants – but not at the expense of good landlords. The abolition of Section 21 is balanced with an expanded list of possession grounds under Section Eight, which means that good landlords will be able to evict tenants who are repeatedly in rent arrears or engaging in anti-social behaviour. Section Eight also includes grounds for taking possession where tenants are not at fault, such as if the landlord wishes to sell the property or move themselves or relatives into it.”
But Bruce is sharply critical of the government’s apparently unlimited delay at introducing it.
While accepting that the court system needs improvement - stated by Housing Secretary Michael Gove as something that must happen ahead of the abolition of Section 21 eviction powers - Bruce is unhappy at the vagueness of the timeline.
He writes: “What does this mean, and how long will it take? The government’s current plans are to introduce efficiency measures such as digitisation and improved prioritisation of cases in the courts. However, it has not set out a clear plan of action and the fears are that nothing will happen until the entire judicial system is improved.
“Delay will see neglectful and absentee landlords continue to wreak havoc over tenants’ lives, especially those with low incomes and in areas of high deprivation. Estimates put Section 21 evictions running at 540 a day.
“That’s why government must commit to the introduction of housing courts as the clearest way to reassure tenants and landlords that the new system will work. All housing cases could then travel through a single body with the institutional insight needed to process them more quickly and effectively that at present.”
He also wants ministers to set out clear timelines for making intended improvements to judicial processes that deal with possession cases, as well as implementing other aspects of the Bill - particularly the Property Portal (effectively a landlord register) and compulsory landlord membership of an Ombudsman scheme.
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