Councils may need more funds for Renter Reform Bill
There are concerns from the private rented sector All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) that the provisions of the Renters Reform Bill could impose a large burden on local authorities.
The APPG is made up of members of Parliament from all political parties, and meets regularly to discuss matters regarding privately rented housing and conducts inquiries. The group can also hear from individuals and organisations from outside Parliament.
A report issued by the committee emphasises the need for action to be taken to stamp out rogue landlords in the PRS and ensuring councils have robust enforcement powers. However, there are concerns about whether councils can enforce the reforms without an increase in their resources. Members are worried that without a major increase in funding, local authorities will find it difficult to carry out the intended modifications of the Bill.
This comes after a stark warning from the Local Government Association that as many as one in five councils may issue a section 114 notice within the next year; this notice is issued if a council is unable to meet its expenditure commitments from income.
In its evidence to the Renters (Reform) Public Bill Committee, the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health warned that the number of Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) are “not sufficient to deal with the existing numbers of tenant complaints.” It cited data showing that for every 10,000 private rented homes there were less than three EHOs.
The APPG also expressed concerns for both renters and responsible landlords when Section 21 Notices are scrapped, because of how long the justice system is taking to process legitimate possession claims.
Chair of the APPG for the Private Rental Sector, Andrew Lewer MBE, Conservative MP for Northampton South, said: “It is vital that the Bill provides security to tenants, gives confidence to responsible landlords and roots out rogue and criminal landlords providing sub-standard housing. However, none of this will be possible without robust enforcement of the powers being proposed.
He added: “Tenants and landlords need to be confident that they will be able to enforce their rights in court in a timely and effective way when section 21 ends.
“It is simply unacceptable that ministers have provided scant detail about what improvements to the justice system will look like and when they will happen.”
The Bill still needs to complete the House of Commons stage, and then needs to progress through the House of Lords. With the added pressure of an upcoming General Election, it is uncertain when the Bill will make it through Parliament.
This content was exclusively prepared in collaboration with The Lettings Hub by Lisa Etherton of award-winning Woodstock Legal Services.
Woodstock Legal Services are specialists in legal advice and solutions for the Private Rental Sector.
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