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Labour pushing for even more radical reforms plus rent controls

The sweeping reforms for the private rental sector announced by the government at the end of last week do not go far enough, says Labour.

The Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper outlined a 12 point plan including making all private rented properties meet the Decent Homes Stnard currently applied to social housing, limiting landlords’ rights to evict tenants, allowing rent increases only once a year, and the creation of a Renting Ombudsman which all landlords will have to join and pay for. Other pledges included a property portal - effectively a landlord register. 

However Sem Moema, Labour’s London Assembly housing spokesperson, says these don’t go far enough.


“The proposals in [the] Renters’ Reform Bill are very long overdue, but will be welcomed by millions of Londoners. It is fantastic news that we will finally see an end to section 21 evictions which have unfairly uprooted the lives of too many Londoners- with thousands facing homelessness as a result.

“… I am keen to see more detail come out on the government’s proposals to stem the rise in the cost of renting and introduce periodic tenancies. But there is a clear case for ministers to go further and increase Local Housing Allowance to cover average rents and give City Hall the powers to introduce rent controls”.

While the property industry as a whole has been broadly sceptical of the pro-tenant tone of the reforms, those on the fringes of the industry have been more supportive.

Gary Ekpenyoung, landlord and tenant partner at law firm Shakespeare Martineau, says: “The White Paper’s reforms represent a turning point for tenants’ rights. However, it’s vital that the legislation does not discourage landlords from renting out their properties, which could further fuel the UK housing crisis.

“Axing Section 21 see ‘no-fault’ evictions becoming a thing of the past, meaning that private tenants can no longer be evicted with two months’ notice, without reason from the landlord. However, to avoid the legal balance tipping too far in favour of tenants, the Government has broadened the scope of section 8, or the reasons for ‘at-fault’ evictions. In order to protect their rights, landlords should develop a clear understanding of these changes.

“Proposals to relieve financial pressure on tenants by making it possible to transfer rental deposits between properties could also make it more difficult for landlords to charge tenants in the event of property damage. This change will ultimately make regular inspections and visits to properties even more valuable. 

“These changes address a long-standing tension in the relationship between tenants and landlords, and it’s vital that landlords get expert advice around how these reforms affect their rights and obligations. However, avoiding disputes and fostering good tenant relationships are always the best course of action in order to avoid potentially costly and time-consuming disputes.”

PropTech entrepreneur and housing market commentor Anthony Codling, founder of Twindig, says: “The Rental Reform Bill as described in the ‘A Fairer Private Rented Sector’ White Paper is a highly ambitious plan to restructure and improve the private rented sector.

“While the main theme appears to be a rebalancing of power away from landlords to tenants, essentially it enshrines the practices and policies followed by most good landlords and professional letting agencies.

“Not all landlords will agree with all of the proposals, but in our view, they work towards the greater good and should lead to a more transparent and better functioning private rental sector.“

Isobel Thomson, safeagent’s chief executive, puts her views this way: “It’s good to see this first important step from Government. We welcome greater support and powers for local authorities in regulating private renting in their areas.

“But let’s not forget – most landlords are already doing a great job in providing excellent homes. Agents are facilitating that, making sure landlords understand their responsibilities, and tenants understand their rights.

“With the sector already doing much good work, balance will be key in the changes brought forward. Rental properties are in increasingly short supply and we have a growing cost of living crisis. It’s important that changes to eviction powers balance security of tenure with some flexibility for landlords.”

And Paul Wootton, Nationwide's so-called ‘director of home’, comments: "Nationwide believes everyone should have a safe, secure and comfortable home, which is why we are committed to improving standards within the private rented sector. When implemented, the proposals outlined in this long-awaited Bill will have a positive impact on housing quality and conditions for tenants and provide much-needed clarity on rules and regulations as well as additional support for landlords.

"As a buy-to-let lender we are keen to understand more about how the changes will be implemented, to ensure we fulfil our important role of balancing the needs of landlords as well as tenants. We are keen for the legislation to be delivered as soon as possible as the rising cost of living is continuing to exacerbate the issues the Renters Reform Bill is looking to address."

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    Typical thick Labour politician. Sem Moema, a Section 21 notice is a notice terminating a contract. IT IS NOT AN EVICTION. Now repeat that every morning and night until you understand the difference.

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    What is the point of having a contract which dates a termination date. Surely at the end of a lease agreement date the tenant has to be made aware that the landlord is either willing to extend the lease or wants his/her property vacated. That sounds fair and sensible and in agreement with the Tenancy Agreement. Am I missing something here??

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    That's s very odd response from Nationwide. The tenant has no responsibility for the mortgage. It's rather like the police acting on behalf of the criminal.


    I believe Nationwide are strong supporters of Polly Bleat and her gaggle of misfits.


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