Rental Reform

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Background

At the beginning of the current session of Parliament in May 2021, the UK Government reiterated its commitment to reform the private rented sector. They have said that they will publish a White Paper - a policy document outlining their proposals for future legislation - in autumn 2021.

The White Paper is expected to set out the Government's plans for possession reform and the future of Section 21 (so-called 'no fault') possession, as well as a broader remit, including exploring mandatory redress for landlords, the merits of a landlord register, and reforms to enforcement.

The NRLA has welcomed the Government's decision to publish a white paper, recognising the significance of the changes for the sector. We are participating, along with other stakeholders, in roundtables chaired by Eddie Hughes MP, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, to discuss the issues which will be raised in the White Paper.

We have now also set out our proposals for the private rented sector, in our report: A New Deal for the Private Rented Sector.

You can download our proposals which we sent to the government here. 

A New Deal for the Private Rented Sector

Last updated: 23/08/2021 at 15:00 - 2.23 MB

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Our Campaign

The NRLA is calling for:  

  1. Clear and comprehensive grounds for possession: There needs to clear and comprehensive grounds upon which landlords can legitimately regain possession of a property for when there has been a ‘fault’, and where the landlord needs to make business decisions such as selling the property, moving in, or making substantial changes.  

  2. Improved access to dispute resolution and the development of a new landlord/tenant conciliation service: to prevent, wherever possible, possession cases ending up in court in the first place. Alongside this, for those cases which do proceed to court, reforms are needed to allow them to be heard more swiftly, including greater use of tenchology to hear cases and ensuring tneants can access suitable advice and support much earlier than they currently do.

  3. A redress scheme for the sector which can improve compliance by linking to the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN). Such a scheme would make the need for a separate national register of landlords redundant. A redress scheme should also be accompanied by a full review to establish if certain types of local landlord licensing schemes are still required. 

  4. A review of enforcement: The UK Government should work with local authorities to conduct an assessment of the ability of relevant departments to enforce the wide range of powers already available to them to tackle criminal landlords. Alongside this, central government needs to provide upfront, multi-year funding to held councils build their capacity to tackle bad practice.

  5. Lifetime deposits: It is vital that the new system in no way discourages landlords from making valid claims for damage to properties. Landlords cannot be expected to give up their right of recourse to a security deposit until such time that they are satisfied there will be no need to make a claim against it. 

Why are we campaigning on this issue? 

The Government's White Paper will propose some of the biggest changes to renting in England for over 30 years. Our organisational objective is a private rented sector that works for all. We do not believe that reforms need be a zero-sum game that pits tenants
and landlords against each other in a struggle for advantage. Rather, a collaborative approach will benefit everyone living and legitimately working in the sector.

What we’re doing 

We have worked with our membership and stakeholders and partners across the sector over the past two years to refine our proposals. These have now been sent to the UK Government and we are also participating in stakeholder roundtable discussions on the key policy questions at the heart of the forthcoming White Paper. 

We will continue to engage members on the proposals in the coming months, through our website, social media, emails and webinars, and keep members updated on developments. We also aim to share landlords' stories to showcase real life examples of the challenges faced.  

How we got here 

Following a consultation on the abolition of Section 21 in summer 2019, the Conservative Party’s 2019 General Election Manifesto committed to abolishing so-called ‘no fault’ evictions through ending Section 21, and also said they would introduce lifetime deposits for tenants. On election, the UK Government announced in their December 2019 Queen's Speech that they would be bringing forward a Renters' Reform Bill to effect these changes.

The NRLA published our report, Striking a Balance: Proposals for the Renters' Reform Bill, in December 2020.

Due to the impact of the pandemic, the Renters' Reform Bill was not brought forward in the 2019-2021 session of Parliament. However, the Queen's Speech in May 2021 outlined the Government's intention to publish a white paper - a policy paper setting out their legislative plans - on rental reform in autumn 2021. The Government has been consulting with stakeholders, including the NRLA, ahead of publication of the White Paper.

We are publishing our own shadow White Paper - A New Deal for the Private Rented Sector - outlining how we believe the Government can achieve the balance needed to ensure a private rented sector that works for all.

We have consulted the NRLA membership on these proposals so we can represent our members' views to government. We’ve gathered stories of landlords experiences with possession, and engaged members through surveys, workshops and webinars. 

Share your feedback

We want to hear from you what you think of our proposals to government, your thoughts on rental reform, and your experiences with possession. 

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