James Brokenshire has opened two consultations aimed at reforming the private rental sector, titled ‘rogue landlord database reform’, and ‘a new deal for renting’.
The first consultation focuses on enhancing the rogue landlord database through a widening of its access to tenants and prospective tenants, broadening its criteria, and posing the question of removing a landlord’s criminal convictions before they would be usually via the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.
The second consultation, ‘a new deal for renting’, seeks opinions on the decision to remove Section 21 and the subsequent implementation of Section 8 in its place. It also asks for views on the implications of preventing landlords from granting assured tenancies, and how the processing of repossession orders through the courts could be improved.
The Residential Landlords Association policy director David Smith says: “Landlords’ concerns over scrapping Section 21 remain unchanged unless and until a new system is in place that provides the confidence and certainty needed that they can regain possession of their property in legitimate circumstances.
“Criminal landlords are a stain on the sector. They undercut the vast majority of landlords who do a good job. We therefore support efforts to making it easier for tenants to distinguish between the two.
“That said, making the database public will mean nothing if councils do not do what they should and properly find and root out the crooks with the wide range of powers already available.
“At present they are failing to do this. It is time to focus resources on the crooks, not overregulate the good landlords whom we should be supporting to provide the homes to rent we need. This consultation will not build a single new home.”
Secretary of state for housing, communities and local government James Brokenshire MP says: “The government is clear. It should not matter whether you rent in the private or social sector. Tenants deserve the same high standards of services regardless of who their landlord is.
“But this is a two-way relationship, and landlords quite rightly expect their tenants to meet the conditions of their tenancy. Landlords need powers to enforce tenancy agreements or to remove tenants who are in significant breach of their agreements.
“It is time for a generational change to the law that governs much of the rental sector. That is why we are proposing that our changes apply to all landlords who use the Housing Act 1988.
“For tenants, this means being able to rent with certainty. Certainty that you will not be asked to leave without being given a fair reason and certainty you will be protected from rogue landlords who seek to abuse their position.
“For landlords, this means being able to rent properties safe in the knowledge that your investment is protected, and you will be supported to provide the safe, secure, and decent homes the nation needs. It means knowing you can swiftly take action when things go wrong, through a redress system that works.”
Both consultations end on 12 October 2019.