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Ignore Critics!  Rental reform popular with vast majority of industry - claim

The large majority of players in the lettings industry wants the rental reform programme outlined by the government, an agent claims.

Laura Walker, head of property management at the nine-branch Bradley Hall agency, says those who oppose the measures put forward by the government are not representative of the lettings agency.

Instead she claims the Renter’s Reform Bill and the Fairer Private Rental Sector White Paper - both put forward by the government early in the summer - will be a breakthrough. 


These include proposals for the scrapping of Section 21, an end to blanket bans on renting to families with children and those in receipt of benefits, and the introduction of a Decent Homes Standard to private rental units. The bill will also spell the end of arbitrary rent review clauses, empowering tenants to challenge what they believe to be ‘unjustified’ rent increases and enabling them to be repaid rent for non-decent homes.

Most trade bodies have given the proposals at best a lukewarm welcome, and in some cases are completely hostile to the measures.  

But Walker says: “While a handful of experts have gone on the record to voice their disapproval of the reforms, the vast majority see this as the progressive change required to rebuild confidence in the industry and clamp down on rogue landlords. 

“We believe that everyone should benefit from a safe and comfortable home and the reforms outlined in this bill will go a long way towards improving living conditions for private renters, while abolishing the stigma surrounding ‘greedy’ landlords.

“The changes will also increase confidence in the lettings system among private renters who will now have more rights concerning their length of tenancy and no-fault evictions. It will give them confidence of longer-term security in making a house their home, and the ability to have pets within a rented property without the need for landlord consent.”

However, Walker admits more clarity is required in some cases. 

“While some landlords are rightly concerned about how they can take back possession of properties due to the inability to serve section 21 notices, I think it’s fair to say that more information needs to be provided surrounding the ‘valid reason’ for a landlord to terminate a tenancy to reinstate landlords confidence in the system. 

“This would cement the importance of having a knowledgeable managing agent appointed to ensure that landlords have the correct and up to date advice on ever changing legislation to ensure their position is protected and they have access to approved contractors to maintain their property to an acceptable standard required under the Decent Homes Standards.”

While the majority of the measures are aimed at improving standards for renters, there are a number of measures which Walker believes will give private landlords and agents plenty of reasons to be supportive of the bill.

This includes the introduction of a new Private Renters’ Ombudsman; ensuring responsible landlords can gain possession of their properties efficiently from anti-social tenants and introducing a new property portal that will help landlords better understand, and comply with, their responsibilities.

She adds: “There is no hiding from the fact that the private rental market has had its fair share of negative press over recent years, therefore any reforms to improve the rights of renters and restore confidence in the market must be welcomed.

“A buoyant rental sector will only be achieved by ensuring tenants feel safe in their homes and they have landlords they can trust, which I genuinely think matches the ambitions of most  landlords.

“Should it be successful, I believe the reforms outlined in the bill will restore private renters confidence in the market and create a fairer system for all.”

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