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Government announces changes to Renters Reform Bill

Changes put forward to the Renters Reform Bill to crack down on rogue landlords, protect vulnerable residents and improve the safety of homes for millions of tenants are being introduced today.

They appear to put flesh on the bones of some ideas floated more generally in the Bill.

The Government has tabled amendments to make it illegal for landlords and agents to have blanket bans on renting to people who receive benefits or who have children – saying this is ensuring families aren’t discriminated against when looking for a home to rent and protecting the most vulnerable. 


Landlords will still be able to carry out referencing checks to make sure a tenancy is affordable and have the final say on who they let their property to. This will apply to England and Wales and will be extended to Scotland via a further amendment to the Renters Reform Bill at a later stage.

Alongside this, a Decent Homes Standard will be applied to the private rented sector for the first time. 

The new standard will set a clear bar for what tenants should expect from their home ensuring it is safe, warm and decent. It will be set following further consultation and will help to meet the target of reducing non-decency in rented homes by 50 per cent by 2030.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove says: “Everyone deserves a home that is safe, warm and decent. But far too many live in conditions that fall well below what is acceptable. As part of our Long-Term Plan for Housing we are improving housing standards across the entire private rented sector, while also ending discrimination against vulnerable people and families who are being unfairly denied access to a home.”

Gove’s statement today adds that local authorities will be given new enforcement powers to require landlords to make properties decent, with fines up to £30,000 or a banning order in the worse cases. Tenants will also be able to claim up to 24 months rent back through rent repayment orders up from 12 previously.

Councils will also be given stronger powers to investigate landlords who rent substandard homes, providing them with the tools they need to identify and take enforcement action against the criminal minority and help drive them out of the sector.

The amendments will now be considered at Committee stage for the Bill in the House of Commons and are - in the government’s words - ”a vital next step in delivering a fairer system for both tenants and landlords. The changes will support the majority of good landlords by making existing rules clearer and more enforceable.”

  • icon

    Is this breaking news, I think we all knew this before,,

  • Neil Moores

    What a waste of time. Let lots of benefit tenants view properties and then be told that they do not earn enough to be granted a tenancy. More work for the landlord and any agent. Same outcome except more work always means more costs which then means higher rents.

    Hit Man

    You can save valuable time by asking relevent questions before making viewing appointments if you're referring to benefit tenants its much quicker and easier to ask them what benefits they receive.

  • Matthew Payne

    The bill is basically moving through parliament, again today without the removal of Section 21, so government is heralding that what remains is about to become law.

  • James B

    Just pandering to tenants for votes, won’t make any difference to any landlord


    Until that landlord gets a 24 month rent repayment order.

  • Billy the Fish

    What do you mean I cannot rent a one bed for my family of 5? Hopefully there is more to it than this basic info!!
    This looks set to be more legislation giving councils the same power they already have which lets face it has made little difference to the very small minority of rogue landlords.

  • icon

    There are clauses in some BTL mortgages, preventing the property being rented to anyone in receipt of benefits. How is this issue going to be addressed? The landlord can't be forced to do something that would put them at risk of repossession if the lender recalls the loan surely?

    Hit Man

    They are not saying that, its up to the landlord who they accept.

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    Fortunately my remaining properties are priced too high to attract benefit tenants.

  • Barry X


    ...."Landlords will still be able to carry out referencing checks to make sure a tenancy is affordable and have the final say on who they let their property to"....

    ....oh good, so for now they're still allowing us a "loophole"....although probably we'll soon also have to be "accountable" (as amendments and new regulations are made up on the fly, including after this BS becomes law) and then probably be made/required to keep records that could be used to justify every little decision so the socialists taking over our lives and businesses can increasingly regulate and micro-manage us???

    ....and at some point to follow, when they feel the urge to do more virtue-signalling, they'll take advice from Shelter on criminalising and penalising us for daring to "discriminate" against some totally unsuitable applicant by not being willing to go ahead with someone who demonstrably could not possibly afford to ever pay (and/or mostly wouldn't bother if s/he could), probably has about 5 children of various ages and a lot of in-laws all intending to sleep in the same studio flat with them, and has no intention or interest in actually looking after our property, or in having an even half-reasonable landlord-tenant relationship with us.... it's all about their "rights" and us having absolutely everything taken from us, no rights at all, and simply being demonised, used and abused.

    it would have been hard to predict this 20 years ago, but it was getting easier and easier to see it coming from about 8 - 10 years ago onwards.... and the way way its going from here is abundantly clear.

    Exactly as expected, it gets worse, and worse, and worse, and worse....


    The PRS is shrinking like an ice cube on a hot plate.


    And when the individuals with five children in a studio flat come to the attention of the local aurhority the landlord will be done for overcrowding.

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    Once again no comment regarding the proposed removal of fixed/minimum term tenancies (in media in general, not specifically aimed at LAT) .

    It won't matter how many children a tenant has, or whether or not they can afford it with or without benefits, because if landlords don''t have the confidence and security of a fixed minimum term, there won't be any properties to let. Landlords need to know that they won't have the burden of cost relating to additional void periods and re-letting fees if tenants are given the right to leave after only two months into a tenancy term.

  • icon

    24 months rent repayment orders combined with Gove's statement that black mould in always the landlords fault; a nice little earner for every tenant.


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