We’re all heavily focused on the anticipated reforms coming our way led by the Conservative government. But, we shouldn’t forget that Labour government is waiting in the wings and have recently announced that they intend to launch a major review of the private rental sector. The next general election is scheduled to be held no later than January 2025, which will be with us before we know it. We could well deal with considerable reform under the Conservatives only to face further rapid changes under Labour. Either way, it’s important we prepare for change.
A Major Review of the Private Rental Sector
At the moment few details have been released. But the Labour government party have announced that they will launch a major review of the private rental sector. It’s to be led by Stephan Cowan, the leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
Lisa Nandy, Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling up has pledged to have the Renters Charter in place within 100 days if Labour won the next general election – which would be impressive if not a little rushed. As you would expect, the proposed changes seek to give renters more security, power, and autonomy when it comes to their homes.
“Housing isn’t a market. It’s a fundamental human right.” Nandy states as the reasoning why the Labour party believe it is important and will make efforts to tilt the balance of power back towards tenants through the new Renters Charter and a new Decent Homes Standard – something already proposed by the Conservatives.
So what is the Renters Charter?
The Renters Charter would:
- End section 21 Evictions.
- Reduce eviction powers for landlords whose tenants are in arrears.
- Introduce “portable” deposits making it easier for tenants to switch properties.
- Allow tenants to have pets.
- Permit renters to make ‘reasonable’ alterations to the property.
- Create a national register of landlords.
- Initiate a legally binding Decent Homes Standard in the private rental sector.
- Compensation for eviction for any reason.
Of course, alongside the Decent Homes Standard, a number of the proposals are included in the reforms under the Conservatives. Others such as the reduction in the eviction powers for landlords for tenants in arrears and compensation for eviction for any reason go one step further.
Woodstock Legal Services believes that we should have a fairer, more secure, and higher quality Private Rented Sector. To landlords, a property is an asset, but to a tenant, it is their home. Consequently, we welcome reform that improves the reputation of landlords and the industry as a whole – good landlords will be fine.
Preparing for Reform
We advise landlords to communicate with their tenants and routinely inspect properties. Additionally, they need to make sure that the asset is protected, and the tenant is living in a home of an acceptable standard. We also recommend that all landlords in anticipation of the reforms, review their portfolio. Take action to ensure their ‘house’ is in order and their properties are up to standard. Paperwork should be checked, and potentially difficult tenants should be considered.
Have any questions about the anticipated reforms or problematic tenancies? Please do not hesitate to contact us and we will happily discuss your options.