Industry News Sam Hunter 12/10/2023

Private Rented Sector Vital to Providing Homes the Country Needs says Gove

A thriving private rented sector is vital to ensuring an effective housing market, the Housing Secretary has told the Conservative Party Conference.

The remarks by Michael Gove were made in response to a question by Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) at a Centre for Policy Studies fringe event at the conference yesterday. 

Beadle asked the Secretary of State if he agreed that “a thriving private rented sector where landlords have the confidence to provide decent homes is important for the future of housing provision?”

Mr Gove agreed and went on to explain: “You can’t have an effective housing market, or provision of the homes we need, without having a variety of different types of tenure. A route to homeownership, a private rented sector that facilitates labour mobility among other things, and socially rented homes in order to help people who are, for whatever reason, eligible for, and deserving of, that level of support.”

He further acknowledged the NRLA’s constructive engagement with the Government on reform of the private rented sector, noting that it has always argued for a “balanced market” between the needs of landlords and tenants. 

The Minister continued: “Actually, the overwhelming majority of landlords want a relationship with their tenants where their tenants stay. Easily the best thing is to have a long-term relationship with someone who pays the rent, looks after the property and where there are those ties.”

Alluding to the NRLA’s calls to ensure the cyclical nature of the student housing market can be protected when fixed term tenancies are ended in the Renters (Reform) Bill, Michael Gove told the event that: “Obviously in the rental market you need to take account of movement, particularly amongst students and so on." Speaking at a later event the Housing Secretary spoke of the need for a thriving and growing private rented sector.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said:

“The Housing Secretary is right to acknowledge the importance of a thriving rental market alongside all other tenures. But the only way to achieve this is to develop policies that can secure the confidence of the vast majority of responsible landlords.

“When section 21 repossessions end, landlords need certainty that the courts will more swiftly process possession claims where there is good cause. 

“Alongside, this, we need to reform a tax system which is penalising the provision of the very homes renters are struggling to find.”  

The NRLA will this afternoon be sponsoring, and speaking at, a fringe event in partnership with the think tank Bright Blue focussed on reform of the private rented sector. Panellists will include the Housing Minister, Rachel Maclean MP, and David Simmonds MP, Chair, of the All-Party Group for Housing and Planning.