The chief executive of industry accreditation service Safeagent has made another plea for unity within the private rental sector.
In a response to the government’s pledge to introduce a Renters’ Reform Bill with a ‘once in a generation’ change to the private rental sector, Safeagent chief executive Isobel Thomson says the reforms should help find common ground.
“Too often, we see tenants, agents, landlords and their representatives at loggerheads over the direction of reform. Surely we can all agree on the goals – providing secure, stable homes and a system that works effectively” she says.
“Now we have greater clarity on legislative plans, it’s time for the whole sector to come to the table and shape how that will work in practice.
“Without open discussion and collaboration, there is a risk that reform will again fall short. Measures such as removal of Section 21 will only work if they are broadly supported by the sector. We also need to think hard about unintended consequences and make sure that tenants are protected while retaining flexibility for landlords.
“The details of legislation will tell us more, but there’s much we can do now to improve the system – including effective enforcement of existing regulation.
“Our agents can help tenants and landlords understand their rights and responsibilities – only by learning from what already works well can we make informed decisions about how a reformed system should operate.”
As well as abolishing Section 21 eviction rights currently in the Housing Act, the new Bill - thought likely to be introduced in Parliament before the summer - will reform Section 8 possession powers for landlords by introducing grounds for repeated incidences of arrears and reducing notice periods for anti-social behaviour.
There will also be a new Ombudsman for the rental sector with the intention of more quickly solving landlord-tenant disputes without needing to go to court.
Meanwhile a property portal will be introduced to help landlords understand their obligations and give tenants performance information to hold their landlord to account.