ARLA Propertymark is warning the government that it should not delay further on its long-awaited Renters Reform Bill, because of the uncertainty it’s causing the lettings sector.
The Bill was introduced in outline in last week’s Queen’s Speech, suggesting it would be put on the Parliamentary timetable for sometime in the coming 12 months.
However, Propertymark is warning that ‘we have been here before’ and says it has provided evidence at intervals over the past 18 months to officials in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Minister, to housing minister Eddie Hughes MP, to a range of government-led roundtables, as well as publishing ARLA’s own views in its The Future of Renting position.
“We stand ready to continue these conversations but urge the UK Government not to delay any further, given the uncertainty this is causing for the sector” says Propertymark in a statement on its website.
Back in December 2019, the Queen's Speech announced plans for a Renters’ Reform Bill and more recently, in May 2021, the government appeared to suggest there would instead be a White Paper detailing the reform package last autumn.
None of these materialised and now this month’s Queen’s Speech repeats the legislative intent, “but we now need proposals that we can review, discuss and ensure meet the needs of Propertymark members and the wider sector” the trade body says.
And the statement continues: “The UK Government are still yet to respond to four key consultations from the past four years that are critical to ensuring any new laws work in practice. They focus on tenancy deposit reform, rogue landlord database reform, the case for a Housing Court and a new deal for renting. These provide some indication of the intended legislation, but there remain many unanswered questions about the breadth and scope of the laws.”
Last week’s Queen Speech suggested there would be four areas for any imminent legislation to focus on - the application of the existing Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector for the first time ever, the need for all landlords to register with a new private rented property portal bringing together information about properties in one place, the abolition ofd Section 21 eviction powers, and the introduction of a new rental Ombudsman.
There is currently no timetable for the introduction of the Bill, but Propertymark says it “stands ready to brief parliamentarians as they consider the contents and impact as it makes its way through Parliament. For provisions passed into law, we will support letting agents and their landlords understand and prepare in good time for the changes that the Renters Reform Bill will introduce.”