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Rental Reform - time to influence, says Agent Rainmaker

Now is the time to lobby the Government on the detail of the Renters Reform Bill.

That’s the message from the expert Agent Rainmaker panel who met to discuss the Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper.

The White Paper outlines the changes to the sector which ministers are proposing are included within the Bill, which could be passed within the next 12 months – although there would then be a period of time before landlords had to comply with the new legislations.


After a surprise announcement that the white paper was being released, Agent Rainmaker founder Sally Lawson and sales director Kate Gregory hosted an online discussion with Neil Cobbold (managing director of PayProp) and Daryl Mcintosh (compliance officer for Propertymark in Scotland).

They discussed the key points in the paper, which includes:

- The scrapping of Section 21 (so-called ‘no fault’ evictions).

- Replacement of Assured Shorthold Tenancies with periodic tenancies – which the tenant could end with two months’ notice, or the landlord could end only if they had grounds for possession.

- The creation of a new Ombudsman who all landlords must be registered with.

- A Property Portal giving access to information for landlords and renters.

- Rent increases limited to once a year, and no more rent review clauses.

- Landlords being unable to refuse to rent to families with children and benefit claimants, and unable to ‘unreasonably refuse’ a request by a tenant to have a pet in the property.

Immediately, concerns were raised that the proposals – if passed – would negatively impact landlords.

But the Agent Rainmaker panel moved to reassure landlords and agents that there was a chance now for the sector to feed back on the white paper and influence the final details which make it into the Renters Reform Bill.

Neil said getting rid of Section 21 shouldn’t be a problem for landlords already operating within legislation and best practice: “A landlord doesn’t want to move a tenant out who’s looking after the property and paying rent.” He added there was normally always a reason why a landlord would want to serve notice – and the new system would simply enable them to name that reason.

Daryl said similar changes which had already come into force in Scotland (such as scrapping their Section 21 equivalent, moving to periodic tenancies, and a new system to settle disputes) had largely improved the system and fears such as tenants moving into a property and moving straight back out had largely not come to fruition.

Sally called on letting agents to be the voice of reason and help reassure landlords, as well as ensuring they were equipped to deal with proposed changes such as looking after tenancies where the renter was receiving benefits. 

And Kate called on agents to ‘have a voice’ and use this time before the Bill went through Parliament to raise concerns, make suggestions, and take part in the consultation process.

The panel agreed most landlords were already complying with Decent Homes Standards – despite the White Paper claiming 21 per cent of privately rented properties were ‘non-decent’.

The paper also stated almost half of all landlords were not using an agent, and only 18 per cent of properties were being managed by an agent. Further stats claimed 11 per cent of landlords were not complying fully with either legislation or good practice.

You can watch the panel discussion here.

* Sally Lawson is the founder of Agent Rainmaker *

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    At the moment this white paper is stating tenants who don't pay rent on time can fall behind 2 month's rent three times in 3 years before LL can go to court to get them out. 5 weeks deposit won't cover 6 months unpaid rent. It is disgraceful and encourages tenants to fall behind on rent. If a tenant has not paid rent for 2 month's they should get written warning and if fall further behind they should be made to leave so property can be let to tenants who keep to terms they signed up to.


    You can still give notice at 2 months arrears, this is to stop those annoying tenants who, when it gets to the court date, pay off just enough to get below the 2 months arrears. It doesn't mean they can build up 6 months.

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    I am selling 1 property in autumn and a second after April. Then 1 a year until all 8 are sold and 6 are already at a C standard for EPC with other 2 at a D.


    Yes totally understandable, and many other landlords are doing the same. It will be a great shame for all those good tenants who will find it more and more difficult to find a home. How long until the Govt and all the anti landlord groups realise what they have done?

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    The agents' perspective on the Rental Reform White Paper is largely irrelevant. Many landlords will not carry on letting if they are required to offer indefinite periodic tenancies.


    Presumably they are already seeing less properties on their books with landlords selling up, and less turnover as tenants aren't moving. The odd property that makes it to an advert generally says "fully booked for viewings" so dead easy to rent, but their profits must be down already?


    That sounds like a very plausible conclusion.

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    So now we have a 12 point anti- landlords plan, where is it fair to the landlords ?.
    Not fit for Purpose Michael Gove no fit for Office.
    They Talk about being guided by property experts, that will be Shelter, Lloyds Bank, John Lewis, General Accident etc the new boys on the Block which is what the White Paper is all about, get it done quickly this Parliament before being chucked out.


    Quite right, and by the time the chickens come home to roost, Gove and Johnson will be off to pastures new.

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    • G W
    • 02 July 2022 22:45 PM

    I agree with most of above comments…. Here’s a thought, do you think this or next government will introduce something to tax or dissuade LL from selling or will it be shutting door after horse has bolted?….

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    GW, my friend all this is already in place and that’s well before this fool of a White Paper and Gove generalised distorted facts. The Horse cannot bolt he is already firmly locked in the Stable and not a glimmer of light.

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    The capital gains tax payable is already a disincentive to sell, but it is better to pay that than own property in name only.

    In fact, the Government is considering lowering capital gains tax to encourage small landlords to sell their properties in a bid to reduce the size of the private rental sector.

    The White Paper on rental reform coupled with a possibility of reducing capital gains tax seems to be part of one strategy - the elimination of the small landlord. That strategy has the obvious effect that in reducing supply, rents rise. I think the Government thinks that that will make people buy some kind of property themselves because it will be more affordable to do that than rent.

    I think the biggest threat that Landlords could face would be a legal requirement to sell their flats/houses to tenants at a reduced price - and that has been considered by the Labour party.

    • G W
    • 05 July 2022 16:24 PM

    I totally agree with your last point, that’s of real concern but rarely mentioned anywhere….. the moment this gains traction for serious consideration….. I’m selling up lock, stock and barrels.

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    When I advertised a 3 bedroom house that I had come vacant the estate agent had 12 different parties interested and 8 made an offer to rent. To be honest any of 5 would have been suitable as passed credit checks and had jobs. Certainly no shortage of people wanting to rent. The couple I rented it to had to move out of previous rental as owner sold and move in with a parent for over 3 months until they could find another suitable rental near to children's school. If government force LL to sell up there will be many other families in this predicament.

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    I know Sally. I see this as a naive and pathetic response, she knows more than anyone what the situation is. This is an exceedingly poor response which is likely to encourage the government in its quest to disenfranchise the small landlords and hand over the market to the banks and failing retailers.


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