Property industry reaction to planned rental reforms – details released

Plans to end Section 21 repossessions, consult on a national register of landlords and develop plans to better tackle rogue landlords have been announced as part of the levelling up white paper set to published today.

Proposals in the government’s ‘Levelling Up’ White Paper will also ensure that private rented homes will be required to meet the Decent Homes Standard.

Responding to the plans, Timothy Douglas, Propertymark, head of policy and campaigns, commented: “Everyone wants to see a crackdown on rogue landlords and safe and secure private rented homes, but additional standards are meaningless unless they are enforced. What’s key for ‘levelling up’ the private rented sector is ensuring that local authorities have the staff and resources needed to actively go out, inspect properties and prosecute.

“Abolishing Section 21 has been talked about for a while now by the UK government but what agents want to know is what will replace it to maintain confidence in the market for landlords. Propertymark believes the only workable alternative is to strengthen all grounds for possession and make them all mandatory – this is in-keeping with the spirit of the UK Government’s intentions as tenant’s won’t be evicted unless they have been provided with good reason to do so.

“We await further details but additional commitments from the UK government to build more genuinely affordable social housing is important because the long-term solution to address the lack of affordability in the private rented sector is to ensure that more social housing is built to reduce housing need.

“On home ownership, the UK government’s plans to address the imbalance of housing supply will be welcome in many parts of the country with a clear focus on providing more people with more opportunities to own their own home. However, there is no mention of the anticipated housing needs of older people and the planning system must remove known barriers to maximising delivery.”


Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “Every tenant should have the right to expect properties to be safe and secure. The existing Decent Homes Standard however is not the right vehicle with which to achieve this important goal.

“At present, this standard, designed for the social rented sector, does not reflect many of the differences between it and the private rented sector. This includes the types and age of properties in each.

“We will work with the government to ensure whatever standards expected of the sector are proportionate, fit for purpose and can be properly enforced. Without this, criminal landlords will continue to undermine the reputation of the vast majority of responsible landlords doing the right thing.”


Richard Davies, head of lettings at Chestertons, said: “The quality and finish of rental homes has evolved drastically over the past years but it has predominantly been new-build properties or Build to Rent schemes that benefited from this. With strong demand for quality housing from tenants in and outside the capital, we welcome the government’s decision to prompt private landlords to upgrade their properties and meet a minimum standard; no matter when they were originally built.

“It’s worth noting that, in our experience, landlords that do invest in maintaining or refurbishing their rental properties, benefit from a higher rental income, lower void periods and find that the tenant will take better care of the property to avoid losing any of their deposit. Another hopeful side effect of the new legislations is a potential drop in rogue landlords.”


David Reed, operations director at Antony Roberts, commented: “There are clear laws and increasing areas of safety standards presently that are in place for landlords to adhere to but more needs to be done to protect tenants facing dreadful conditions brought on by a landlord’s disregard of their contractual and statutory obligations.

“Will a ‘register’ of landlords help? All sounds good-spirited but the construct of this and qualifying grounds/legal process for ultimate entry may take a long time to reach, if at all. The underlying principle is that good landlords will act properly anyway, being conscious of their duties. Meanwhile, the ‘rogues’ at the extremes will have as much regard for this as they presently do for the raft of statutory measures that are currently in place. They will most probably ignore it all so the net result in terms of action could be very limited.

“Looking to the broader picture of section 21 Notices, I believe this is a good moment for consultation and due consideration with a view to maintaining a healthy private rental sector. A broad-brush approach toward simple abolition would damage the supply of property coming to the rental market. Without the ability to regain possession at all, landlords are less likely to offer their property for rental. Less choice for tenants would put upward pressure on rental prices and in the rush and scramble for properties that are available, tenants may view properties where landlords are more reluctant to make improvements, knowing that a tenant will likely emerge in any case. Thus, higher rents and lower general standards of décor and specification could be unwanted market consequences if section 21 notices are removed without a proper assessment of the impacts from doing so.”


Melanie Leach, chief executive of the British Property Federation, remarked: “The government’s mission to improve pride in place across the country is laudable but this can only be delivered through a much bolder vision for revitalising the buildings and public spaces in our town centres. Kings Cross is quoted as a template, but this was a long-term project only made possible by a strong public-private partnership and the support of the local community creating the vision and conditions for massive private sector investment.

“The government should harness the BPF’s proposal for Town Centre Investment Zones – creating the conditions for delivering the Prime Minister’s aim to unleash private sector investment through a mix of tax incentives, planning flexibility and greater local authority powers across all parts of the country.

“Working with Homes England, the property sector can deliver town centre transformation far more effectively than government grants alone and ensure that empty shops are put to new uses. Requiring property owners to fill empty premises misses the point – there will only be tenants wanting to occupy the town centre if it is a place people want to visit and spend time in.”


Isobel Thomson, chief executive of safeagent, said: “We’re glad to see that PRS reform is a key part of the levelling up agenda, with the measures having been much trailed. Housing shapes everyone’s life and a safe and secure home for tenants – whether in the PRS or social housing – is a must to ensure their security, wellbeing and financial opportunities.

“safeagent does not believe there is anything to fear from landlord registration – we only need to look to the devolved nations who have already introduced it and the way in which agents have played an integral role.

“With a timescale for implementation of the measures as far away as 2030 though, consumers remain at risk. To make a difference, the crackdown on rogue landlords must be brought in quickly and have real teeth. Fines and bans only work if there is effective enforcement behind them. It is time to stop talking about what has to be done and just get on with it.”


Radical rental reforms announced as part of new government proposals



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  1. AcornsRNuts

    Gove proving we do not have a conservative government.  Will not say how landlords will be protected from rogue tenants, just that landlords cannot use Section 21 or give notice withut a good reason.  How about “because we WANT OUR PROPERTY BACK!”?

    Gove had better get his hard hat on and help build those council houses that will be needed as good landlords continue to say that enough is enough.

  2. LVW4

    I plan to be out of the PRS by the end of this year. Maybe I should serve a S.21 now, just to make sure it’s in the queue.


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