Inquiry Launched into Government’s Proposals for the Private Rented Sector
Despite all eyes being on the current Tory leadership race, the government’s proposals for the Private Rented Sector have not been forgotten.
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The ‘Reforming the Private Rented Sector’ inquiry was launched by the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee and will investigate, among other things, the Government’s plans to:
- Introduce a decent homes standard for the private rented sector
- Reform the system of tenancies and abolish no-fault evictions
- Reform the grounds on which landlords can take possession of their properties and better protect tenants from unfair rent increases
According to the White Paper, nearly 11,000 householders in the private rented sector reported having to move because the landlord put up their rent.
Clive Betts, chair of the LUHC, said the committee ‘welcomes’ the White Paper and is keen to ‘examine how effective the proposed reforms will be in protecting tenants and ensuring the success of the private rented sector in providing homes’:
Private renters can be the victim of a power imbalance with their landlords, subject to unjustified hikes in rents and the fear of being forced out of their accommodation. During a cost-of-living crisis, the impact of rising housing costs is even more damaging on households.
Betts added that the committee is looking forward to hearing from a range of stakeholders, ‘including tenants’ groups, landlords, local government, and ministers, and will then report with recommendations to Government on how they could improve their proposals for reform of the private rented sector.’
What does the inquiry want to find out?
The inquiry aims to answer the following questions:
- Will the Government’s White Paper proposals result in a fairer private rented sector (PRS)?
- What do the proposals in the White Paper and other recent reforms indicate about the role the Government envisages the PRS playing in providing housing nationally?
- Have the Government’s announcements already led to any changes in behaviour in the PRS?
- Do the proposals for reforming tenancies, including the abolition of Section 21, strike the right balance between protecting tenants from unfair eviction and allowing landlords to take possession of their properties in reasonable circumstances?
- How easily will tenants be able to challenge unfair rent increases under the proposals?
- Does the PRS need its own ombudsman? If so, what powers should it have?
- Will the proposals result in more disputes ending up in the courts? If so, will the proposals for speeding up the courts service suffice?
- What impact, if any, will the reforms have on the supply of students’ homes in the general PRS?
- What impact, if any, will the reforms have on the supply of homes in the PRS?
- What should be included in the new decent homes standard and how easily could it be enforced?
- How enforceable are the proposals to make it illegal for landlords to have blanket bans on letting to people on benefits or with children? What other groups, if any, should be protected from blanket bans?
- Overall, what additional pressures will the proposals place on local councils, and how many of these will require new burdens funding?
It is hoped that evidence sessions for the inquiry will begin in September. Evidence is currently being accepted and can be filed until Friday 19th August 2022, submissions should be no longer than 3,000 words and uploaded here. You can also contact the committee team via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Understanding these upcoming changes and making your opinion known about them is incredibly important because the changes will affect you and your rental business. If you are considering expanding your buy-to-let portfolio, make sure you understand what the future could hold!