MPs Slam Rent Reform as Doomed to Fail

Private rental laws designed to improve tenant rights will backfire unless the government improves how the courts handle evictions, says a powerful Westminster committee.

MPs say the government’s proposed Rent Reform Act is flawed and recommends ministers look again at how to replace Section 21 no-fault evictions.

They say allowing landlords to repossess a home to sell or to live in themselves won’t work unless notice periods for tenants are extended.

They want sale and occupation exemptions removed during the first 12 months of a tenancy and a ban on renting out a home for six months after a sale and occupation eviction to discourage rogue landlords.

New laws will worsen the housing crisis

The report also argues that councils will fail to enforce a new decent home standard because of a cash shortage, a lack of qualified enforcement staff and poor local data listing rented properties.

Clive Betts, chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, has published the damning report that savages proposed rent reforms before the bill gets to Parliament.

The committee’s Reforming the Private Rented Sector study argues that the proposed laws will harm students renting homes and encourage landlords to switch rental properties to holiday lets.

Both would make fewer homes available and reduce the nation’s housing stock, making a lack of homes even worse for renters.

Social housing solution

“By its own admission, the government’s white paper did not address the underlying cause of the affordability crisis in the private rented sector, namely the decades-long failure of successive governments to build enough homes,” said Betts.

“Only a significant increase in housing, particularly affordable housing, will ultimately tackle the rocketing costs of renting for many tenants. We call on the government to recommit delivering the affordable homes the country needs, particularly the 90,000 social rent homes needed every year.

 “The government should remedy the blight of unfair evictions and insecurity of tenure experienced by too many tenants today. From our inquiry, it’s not clear that the government fully appreciates that a creaking and unreformed courts system in England risks undermining their tenancy reforms, including the welcome commitment to ban ‘no fault’ evictions.

“For landlords and tenants, it’s vital the government now finds a practical way forward to enable courts to fast-track claims.”

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