With the much-delayed Renters’ Reform Bill set to finally be announced today, there is widespread concern among those operating in the rental sector that the new rules risk backfiring.
Commenting on the introduction of the government’s rental reforms legislation, Matthew Lesh, director of public policy and communications at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said that “making it harder to evict residents is only likely to make it harder to rent”.
He commented: “Landlords will inevitably be more selective about who they offer properties to and charge higher rents when they cannot quickly evict bad tenants. That is likely to disproportionately hurt those who are poorer, younger, and from minority communities.
“Anti-landlord measures, including tax changes, and higher interest rates, are already contributing to many withdrawing properties from the market. New eviction rules and burdensome regulatory standards will only worsen the rental property shortage and record-high rents.
“The housing crisis won’t be solved by fiddling with rental rules. Britain needs fundamental planning reform to allow more homes to be built where people want to live – anything else will continue to see renters offered poorer quality homes at too high prices.”
The Renters’ Reform Bill is expected to get its first reading today after Prime Minister’s Questions, although the full details of the proposals will be announced at a later date, and that is a worry as far as Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, is concerned.
He said: “Responsible landlords need to be confident that when Section 21 ends, where they have a legitimate reason, they will be able to repossess their properties as quickly as possible. Without this assurance, the Bill will only exacerbate the rental housing supply crisis many tenants now face.
“Whilst we welcome the government’s pledge to ensure landlords can effectively recover properties from anti-social tenants and those failing to pay rent, more detail is needed if the Bill is going to work as intended.
“Ministers must develop a plan to improve the speed and efficiency with which the courts process possession claims. Although the government has accepted NRLA calls to digitise cases, staff numbers need to increase in the court system as well to meet the needs of these reforms.
“Likewise, the government must recognise the serious concerns of landlords letting to students about open ended tenancies. Without the ability to plan around the academic year, students will have no certainty that properties will be available to rent when they need them.
“We will continue to work with the government, MPs and Peers to ensure the Bill workable and fair to both responsible landlords and tenants.”
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