Private landlords - Levelling Up rental reforms

The long awaited Levelling Up White Paper was announced yesterday by minister Michael Gove and covers a number of new powers and initiatives which will radically reshape the private sector rental market.

Section 21 eviction powers that were postponed during lockdown are set to be removed, completely switching the power balance back to tenants and ending what Mr Gove terms, ‘the unfair situation where renters can be kicked out of their homes for no reason.’

The White Paper also looks to introduce a Decent Homes Standard for privately rented properties and launch a consultation for a Landlords Register. Both of these initiatives look to improve the standards for rented properties and crackdown on rogue landlords, ‘making sure fines and bans stop repeat offenders leaving renters in terrible conditions.’

On the whole these have been welcomed by industry bodies. However the National Residential Landlords Association have expressed concerns that the proposed Decent Homes Standard may not be the right way to achieve a higher benchmark.

Ben Beadle NRLA chief executive says, ‘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.’

Enforcement and the need to support local authorities with additional staff and resources was also highlighted by ARLA Propertymark, the professional body for the property sector.

Propertymark head of policy and campaigns, Timothy Douglas explains, “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”

“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 government’s intentions as tenant’s won’t be evicted unless they have been provided with good reason to do so.”

At Poole Townsend we work with a number of landlords on a let only and a fully managed basis advising on current legislation and what may be ahead for the private rental sector. If you would like to learn more about our services or how these proposed changes may affect you and your rental properties, get in touch with Andrew or Louise for expert advice and guidance.

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