What the Government’s Levelling Up Plan Will Mean for the Private Rental Sector
The government’s much-vaunted Levelling Up plan has included plans for an intense shake-up of the private rental sector.
There are three critical clauses included in the white paper that will significantly impact the sector:
- Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions will be abolished
- All homes in the private sector will have to meet minimum standards
- Plans to crack down on rogue landlords
What will this mean for landlords and tenants moving forward?
Abolishment of ‘No Fault’ Evictions
Under existing legislation, landlords can evict tenants from properties after a notice period without being required to provide a reason. Under the Levelling Up plan, these Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions will be abolished.
Although landlords will still be able to evict tenants, they will have to do so under strengthened Section 8 legislation, which was previously used in the event of a tenant breaking their agreement.
These new plans have been designed to provide greater levels of security to tenants, particularly the number of growing families using the private rental sector, many of whom cite homelessness as their greatest fear. In addition, it is aimed at cutting the number of “revenge evictions” where unscrupulous landlords remove tenants who have made complaints about housing conditions.
The existing Decent Homes Standard legislation, which requires habitation to be of an acceptable standard, only applies to those providing social housing. The new plans will see this legislation extended to cover rental properties in the private rental sector.
As a minimum, landlords on the social housing market need to ensure that dwellings meet the statutory minimum standard for housing, are in a reasonable state of repair, have modern kitchens and bathrooms, and have a suitable standard of heating and insulation.
A report released in September 2021 found that two million homes contained a serious hazard with only 12% of these poor-quality homes being council or housing association owned.
The expectation is that the number of poor-quality homes on the private rental market will be halved; however, the exact makeup of the standards private landlords will be expected to meet is not yet known. The government is currently reviewing whether the existing social housing standards will fit the private rental market.
Crackdown on Rogue Landlords
The third part of the Levelling Up plan will see a crackdown on rogue landlords and measures to prevent repeat offenders from providing substandard living conditions for private renters.
Plans include a consultation on introducing a landlords’ register, which will see all private landlords logged on a central system from which they can be banned should they fall short of the required standards. In addition, local authorities may have the power to levy fines on landlords who do not provide habitable dwellings.
Although the government white paper has set a target of achieving each of the 12 main missions outlined, of which one is to ensure renters have a secure pathway towards homeownership and access to higher standards of accommodation, by 2030, there are currently no set timelines for introducing any individual measure.
North West London Landlords
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