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Rental Reform aimed mostly at north of England, government admits

The government is admitting that its rental reform agenda is aimed primarily at the north of England - which just happens to be where the infamous ‘Red Wall’ constituencies are located, which are critical to Conservative success.

The government this week revealed an outline of what will be in a forthcoming Rental Reform Bill, which it describes as the ”biggest change to renters law in a generation – improving conditions and rights for millions in the private and socially rented sector.”

It will include legislation extending the Decent Homes Standard to the sector for the first time and giving all renters what it calls “the legal right to a safe and warm home.”


It will ban Section 21 evictions, “protecting tenants from unscrupulous landlords” and introduce the concept of an Ombudsman to arbitrate in disputes between private landlords and tenants, in a bid to avoid further demand on courts.

However, in the very final paragraph of a briefing document released by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities yesterday, it said:  “The reforms will be of particular benefit to those in the North of England, with data from the English Housing Survey showing that the proportion of non-decent homes is higher in the North than other areas of the country.”

Elsewhere in the briefing note it says: “[The] reforms will prevent private landlords from benefiting from tax payer money for renting out low quality homes, slashing the £3 billion a year in housing benefit that is estimated to go to landlords renting out non-decent homes. It will also save the NHS anywhere up to the £340 million a year it is spending on the ill health that low quality privately rented homes create.”

The timetable for actual implementation of these measures is uncertain. 

The government says a White Paper will be introduced “shortly” but this has already been on the agenda for many months without delivery. If some individual objectives - such as amending the Housing Act to remove Section 21 - require substantial legislation and debate, the process could still take as long as two years.

This would suggest the debate over the private rental sector could rumble on towards or even beyond the next General Election, scheduled for 2024.

Labour has taken up the issue of a lack of clarity on timing.

Labour’s London Assembly housing spokesperson, Sem Moema, says: “After three years of inexplicable delay, it is positive that the Government have committed to finally push through the Renters’ Reform Bill.

”What we urgently need now is a clear timetable which confirms exactly when the legislation, which crucially will ban unfair Section 21 evictions, will come into force.

“We have been here before with the promise of a policy white paper and this must be immediately forthcoming.

“Millions of renters in London simply can’t afford a situation in which Ministers continue to kick the can down the road on strengthening their rights and protections.”

  • James B

    More vote winning nonsense .. shame the tenants can’t see how this will backfire on them from now even as landlord change policies . And these figures how much the NHS will save .. absolute pie in the sky they must just pluck figures out the air for stories they can’t possibly know this..

    Barry X

    generally agreed - but pls see my reply to girish mehta below.

  • icon

    They love to talk about unfair Section 21 evictions but, as usual, are ignorant about the process since Section 21 is a Notice, not an eviction. If they ban the unfair ones, can we keep the fair ones? As per usual with our MPs they cannot think further than the next sound bite. The law of unintended consequences will result in more landlords leaving the PRS and those remaining will just increase rents.

    Barry X

    Too right and all good points!

  • icon

    Saving money on the benefits bill ? The only way that could be achieved is to get decent jobs. Most benefit claimants are unmarried mothers. Most private landlords don't want people on benefits, most of the benefit money goes to council housing or housing associations. Not the PRS !

    Barry X

    Good point and well done for exposing another lie.

  • girish mehta

    It’s all about votes . Try to have national policy to bring one area for getting votes and destroy housing market . What is the idea anot landlords licensing and other laws in test of the country where landlords a paying to councils .clueless and rip off politicians exploting voters for their own gain

    Barry X

    Whilst I like your comment (though found it hard to read) I don't completely agree...

    Yes, its got a lot to do with votes (at least for the government) its also about eating us alive and taxing us to death while they're at it (thus combining the "death and taxes" thing).

    But don't forget that Councils are also exploiting us every which way they can (and lying about their reasons for doing so) and various "charities" etc are vilifying us and pretending to understand things (when they don't, and don't even need to or care) and "work hard for ordinary hard working people" and other lies.... all for their own selfish benefit and nobody else's.

  • Barry X

    It's all about exploiting, milking, fleecing and cheating landlords - and often their/our agents in the process....

    (1) the government does it by (a) taxing us unfairly, and in ways it wouldn't consider - or at least dare - to do to any other commercial or business sector (and lying about its motives for doing so). They do that because they know we're "sitting ducks" with little or no flexibility to escape. And (b) with the help of "charities" (in reality hard-left political lobbyists) like Shelter etc to subtly prime the public (and especially our tenants) into hating and resenting us as all being "unscrupulous" money grabbing con-men (some are, but so are some in every industry sector there is, including insurance, finance and most especially politics itself), then deceiving our tenants into thanking them for "freebies" and "rights" they end up sharing the costs for with us, in the hope are greatful tenants will vote for them.... its simple maths - if for some reason there were more landlords than tenants (impossible) or we donated vast amounts to their party (hopefully impossible) then it would probably all be the other way round....

    (2) Councils/Local Authorities finding all kinds of dishonest explanations and lies for taking money from us unfairly for c/tax and "licencing schemes" (that generate cash for them but virtually never actually do the even the tinniest amount of good for anyone)....

    (3) etc.

    ...of course what they all either forget, or alternatively don't even know because they haven't been around as long as people like me, is that the 1988 Housing Act, tweaked and improved by the Housing Act 1996, completely revolutionised and revitalised the totally stagnant private rental market - finally making it possible to be a landlord able to set whatever rent they liked (and not find tenants if uncompetitive, so the market found its own level), and even more importantly REGAINED VACANT POSSESSION (i.e. s.21) without having to prove to a court that the tenant had done anything wrong... this led to banks being willing for the first time to offer so called Buy to Let (BTL) mortgages, instead of onerous and very expensive commercial loans for such low loan to value ratios, and with so many dire conditions imposed, that it just wasn't worth most people's while and anyhow they didn't have the 50% (or sometimes more) required in cash to buy...

    It's no coincidence that I became a landlord in 1996, and wouldn't have considered (or even been able) to before, with no access to finance on reasonable terms, or insurance, and with the certainty of having to creating "sitting tenancies" subject to rent tribunals (all rigged to imposing way below fair rents and no chance of making reasonable increases)... no wonder all tenanted properties we blighted and only worth around 30% of their normal open market value with vacant possession un-tenanted!

    The original intention of section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 was utterly different to what people have been trained to believe, and was an INCREDIBLE benefit to tenants as it finally enabled new landlords to enter the market, new properties to be offered, the whole thing becoming competitive so landlords had an actual incentive to make their properties attractive and appealing be to encourage tenants to rent (or stay) as they actually had a choice and could move somwhere else if they wanted.... as "sitting tenants" their poor landlords were desperate for them to go and more or less nobody else was stupid enough to want them so they were STUCK with no mobility or flexibility and all their "rights" condemned them to hang on to an increasingly shabby and drab property that might also have become too small for them (but nowhere better to go) and usually no chance of relocating for work or anything else....

    That's the bad-old days were returning to... I've been writing about this on and off, and in detail, for several years now while wishing I could easily get out myself.



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