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Government Focus On And Intends To “Shift The Odds In Favour Of Renters”

Government Focus On And Intends To “Shift The Odds In Favour Of Renters”

Eddie Hughes, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, told MPs in the House of Commons: “The housing market has undoubtedly left thousands of tenants feeling insecure and unprotected. However, this does not need to be the case and it should not be the case. We, the government, want to shift the odds in favour of renters and deliver a better deal for them.”
His comments were in response to Labour MP Catherine West (MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, and Shadow Foreign Minister for Asia and Pacific) who introduced the debate to the HOC.
She told the House about a block of flats in her Hornsey and Wood Green constituency whose new landlord used threats of Section 21 notice evictions if tenants failed to pay a 30 per cent increase in rents.

However in light of protests and demonstrations the landlord has now rescinded the new terms.
She used this example to highlight the need for the Rental Reform Bill and White Paper to be finally unveiled rather than suffering the continual delays which have surrounded the legislation.
Hughes fully supported West’s comments but was far from forthcoming regarding the timescale of the Bill’s introduction as well the publication date of the White Paper for consultation.
Hughes backed West’s comments but refused to be drawn on when the legislation would come before Parliament, or when the White Paper would be released for consultation.
He said: “Millions of responsible tenants are living in homes in the knowledge that they could be uprooted at a moment’s notice and with minimal justification. That is not peace of mind; that is simply wrong.

“To give people the confidence they need to be able to plan for the future, we are stepping up with the biggest change in legislation for the private rented sector for a generation by abolishing no-fault evictions—section 21s as they are more formally known.

“This is the centrepiece of our plans to raise standards across the whole of the private rented sector and reflects our determination to drive out rogue and unscrupulous landlords.

“Our reforms will deliver a fairer, more effective rental market and, later this year, we will publish the White Paper that sets out the blueprint for the whole sector. I appreciate completely that the Honourable Lady is very keen for us to progress, but it is important, given this once-in-a-generation change, that we make sure that we have consulted widely with people from across the sector to ensure that we get it right.”
He continued: “We are engaging with the widest possible range of voices, including stakeholders and organisations from across the sector. As much as we sometimes like to pretend, politicians do not always have the answers.

“Hearing and listening to these views would not only ensure that the White Paper and future legislation actually address the challenges that exist, but help to create a system that works for everyone.”
Hughes stated later in the debate: “We are clear about the fact that it is for landlords and tenants to agree the amount of rent that should be charged at the outset of a tenancy, but the government are keen to avoid any unintended negative consequences related to abolishing section 21.

“As part of that, we are determined that there should not be any mechanism for landlords to force a tenant to leave a property by including clauses in tenancy agreements which hike up the rent by excessive or unreasonable amounts just before the agreements are due to expire.”
Richard Merrick of PIMS, said: “It is all well and good giving tenants extra support but with the continual punitive measures, EPC targets, tax increases, and the forthcoming Renters Reform Bill onslaught, why can’t MPS understand that many landlords are and will be leaving the sector because of their ‘grand ideas’.
“Tenants may be given more rights but having a rented home to take advantage of new powers is useless if they cannot find a roof over their heads asPRS housing stock is being sold off....and as for councils housing tenants, many are becoming reliant on landlords to sort their mess out.”