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Rental tenants will get more power as part of planned law changes

todayJune 16, 2022 1

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People living in privately rented accommodation in Nottinghamshire could have more power to challenge their landlords under proposals being spelled out by the Government. A White Paper has been published to look at law changes in the private rental sector in order to help stop perceived “injustices”.

The Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper features plans aiming to make the sector fairer for tenants and give them stronger powers if they feel their landlords are not doing their job properly or from rent increases which are deemed to be unjustifiable. Blanket bans on renting to families with children or people on benefits would also be illegal while tenants could also be spared the expense of having to move to and from multiple properties as often as some do.

As part of the proposals, the decent homes living standard will be extended to the private sector, meaning properties must be free from serious health and safety hazards, forcing landlords to maintain the home to a good state of repair. Another thing which will become illegal under the plans will be “no fault” Section 21 evictions, which allow landlords to terminate tenancies without reasons.

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According the the Government, there are 4.4 million privately renting households in England. The Government has also said that figures show more than a fifth of private renters who moved in 2019 and 2020 did not end their tenancy by choice and that while the majority of privately rented homes are in good condition, more than 500,000 pose an imminent risk to tenants’ health and safety.

Other aspects of the plans include a Private Renters’ Ombudsman being created to allow for disputes to be settled quickly and at relatively low cost outside of court, measures to help landlords gain possession of their property efficiently from anti-social tenants and a new portal to help landlords understand and comply with their responsibilities and give access to councils and tenants to information they need. The measures will be part of the Renters Reform Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech.

Levelling Up and Housing Secretary Michael Gove said: “For too long many private renters have been at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords who fail to repair homes and let families live in damp, unsafe and cold properties, with the threat of unfair ‘no fault’ evictions orders hanging over them. Our new deal for renters will help to end this injustice by improving the rights and conditions for millions of renters as we level up across the country and deliver on the people’s priorities.”

The details emerging from the White Paper have been praised by some organisations. Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “The Renters Reform Bill is a game changer for England’s 11 million private renters.

“Scrapping unfair evictions will level the playing field. For the first time in a long time, tenants will be able to stand up to bad behaviour instead of living in fear.

“This White Paper promises people safety and security in their home, and it makes clear that landlords need to play by the rules. Gone will be the days of families being uprooted and children forced to move school after being slapped with a Section 21 no-fault eviction for no good reason.

“As these plans move through Parliament, they’ve got to keep their teeth to drive up standards and professionalise private renting. For every renter trapped in a never-ending nightmare of moving from one shoddy rental to the next, the Renters’ Reform Bill cannot come soon enough.”

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), said his organisation welcomed the plans, but added his organisation will be keeping a close eye on the Government’s actions. Mr Beadle said: “Whilst headline commitments to strengthening possession grounds, speedier court processes and mediation are helpful, the detail to follow must retain the confidence of responsible landlords, as well as improving tenants’ rights.

“We will be analysing the Government’s plans carefully to ensure they meet this test. A failure to do so will exacerbate the housing crisis at a time when renters are struggling to find the homes they need.

“The eventual legislation needs to recognise that government actions have led to a shortage of supply in the sector at a time of record demand. It is causing landlords to leave the sector and driving up rents when people can least afford it.”

People representing renters have also welcomed the plans, with Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent, saying: “Without proper safeguards we could still see thousands of tenants facing the hardship of unwanted moves, and more staying quiet about disrepair out of fear of a retaliatory eviction. If the Government can get the detail right and give tenants the confidence they need to request improvements and plan for the long term, this legislation has the potential to improve the lives of millions throughout England.”

In response, Labour have called for more immediate action. Lisa Nandy, Shadow Levelling Up and Housing Secretary, said: “More security for renters is welcome, but action is needed now, not after yet another consultation.

“While the Government has dithered and delayed, rents and evictions have shot up. Labour is calling for emergency legislation to immediately end no-fault evictions and give people more security in their home.”

Written by: thehitnetwork

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