- New plan for tenant reform will end inadequate housing injustice and help protect renters from rising cost of living
- We will ban Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions and extend the Fair Housing Standard to the sector
- We will end arbitrary rent review clauses, give tenants greater powers to challenge bad practices, unjustified rent increases, and allow substandard housing rent to be refunded.
- It will be illegal for landlords or agents to have blanket prohibitions on renting to families with children or receiving benefits.
- We’ll make it easier for renters to share their homes with beloved pets.
The Fairer Private Rental Sector White Paper published today (16 June 2022) will ensure that millions of families benefit from living in decent and well-kept housing as part of the biggest restructuring of the private rental sector in 30 years.
The white paper marks a generational change that will restore the balance between owners and the 4.4 million private renters. Provides new support for cost-of-living pressures with protections for the most vulnerable and new measures to address arbitrary and unfair rent increases. This is part of a broader reform agenda to improve lives and level the country by providing more housing and stronger protections for renters and homeowners.
Most renters enjoy safe and secure rentals, but for the 21% of private renters and households currently living in unsuitable homes, this ‘New Deal’ will extend the Decent Housing Standard to the private sector for the first time, leveling the opportunities. This means that homes must be free of serious health and safety hazards, and landlords must maintain homes in good repair so that tenants have clean, adequate, and usable facilities.
So-called ‘no-fault’ Section 21 evictions, which allow landlords to terminate leases without giving any reason, will be banned. More than a fifth of private renters who moved in in 2019 and 2020 did not terminate their lease by choice, including 8% who were asked to leave by their landlord.
The measures released today also include:
- Help the most vulnerable by prohibiting blanket bans on renting to families with children or receiving benefits.
- For the first time, end the use of arbitrary rent review clauses, restrict courts from raising rent, and allow tenants to pay rent for substandard housing. This will ensure that tenants can take their landlord to court for rent reimbursement if their housing is of an unacceptable standard.
- Make it easier for tenants to have much-loved pets in their homes by giving all tenants the right to request a pet in their home, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably deny
- Move all tenants to a single system of periodic tenancy, which means they can leave substandard housing without continuing to pay rent or move more easily when their circumstances change. A tenancy will only end if a tenant ends or the landlord has a valid reason, defined in law
- Double notice periods for rent increases and give tenants greater powers to challenge them if they are unjustified.
- Give councils stronger powers to tackle the worst offenders, backed by enforcement pilots, and increase fines for serious offences.
In addition, the estimated 2.3 million private owners will have greater clarity and support through the following measures:
- A new Ombudsman for Private Tenants will be created to allow disputes between private tenants and landlords to be resolved quickly, at low cost, and without going to court.
- Ensuring that responsible landlords can efficiently obtain possession of their properties from anti-social tenants and can sell their properties when they need to.
- Introducing a new property portal that will provide a single gateway to help landlords understand and meet their responsibilities, as well as give councils and tenants the information they need to tackle dishonest operators.
These reforms will help ease cost-of-living pressures faced by tenants, preventing families from needlessly moving from one privately rented home to another with hundreds of pounds in moving costs.
We have already taken significant steps over the past decade to improve private rental, including reducing the share of non-decent private rental housing from 37% to 21%, capping rental deposits, and banning rental fees for leases signed after June 1, 2019, and introduce pandemic emergency measures to ban bailiff evictions.
Today’s measures will form part of the Tenants Reform Bill as announced in the Queen’s Speech, which will be tabled in this parliamentary session. This will deliver on our commitment to give tenants a better deal and make the private rental sector fit for the 21st century with safer, more secure and higher quality housing.
Leveling Up and Housing Secretary Michael Gove said:
For too long, many private renters have been at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords who fail to repair homes and leave families living in dank, unsafe and cold properties, with the threat of unfair ‘no-fault’ eviction orders hanging over them.
Our New Deal for renters will help end this injustice by improving the rights and conditions of millions of renters as we level up across the country and deliver on people’s priorities.
While most private rental housing is of good quality and offers safe and comfortable accommodation for families, conditions in more than half a million homes (12% of households) pose an imminent risk to the health and the safety of tenants, that is, about 1.6 million people live in housing of dangerously low quality, which raises the costs of our health service.
The sector provides the most expensive, least safe and lowest quality housing to millions of renters, including 1.3 million households with children and 382,000 households over the age of 65. Rents are also rising at their fastest level in 5 years. This can damage life chances and hold back some of the most disadvantaged parts of the country.
Today’s move marks the latest phase in fulfilling the government’s catch-up missions, taking serious steps to halve the amount of poor-quality rental housing, in both private and social tenures, by 2030.
Last week, the government introduced the Social Housing Regulation Bill, which means that owners of social housing who do not meet the requirements could face unlimited fines and Ofsted-style inspections.
In a major reestablishment of power between renters and landlords, residents will be able to demand information and rate their landlord as part of the new satisfaction measures. Along with today’s white paper on tenant reform, the bill will form a key part of the government’s mission to level up across the country and deliver on people’s priorities.
Along with the white paper, today we will also publish the following documents:
- Response to the 2019 consultation on the abolition of section 21
- Response to the 2018 evidence call on a housing court case
- Response to the 2019 call for tests on the reform of the lease deposit