Scores of rules landlords currently impose, including the banning of pets and tenants on benefits, will be outlawed under new plans for the rental sector.
The use of so-called Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions will also be banned under The Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper announced last week.
In a raft of changes, tenants will have more powers to challenge rent rises deemed unjustified, as well as poor practice.
The decent homes living standard which applies to social housing will be extended to the private sector. This quality marker means homes must be free of health and safety hazards, be in a reasonable state of repair, have reasonably modern kitchen and bathrooms (no more than 20-years-old for kitchens and 30 for bathrooms), and be reasonably insulated.
The proposed rules include:
- The banning of no fault Section 21 evictions ending tenancies without reason,
- Ending a blanket ban on tenants with pets, children or on benefits,
- Ensuring homes meet the decent homes living standard,
- A new Private Renters' Ombudsman to settle disputes out of court,
- Giving more power to tenants to challenge rent rises and poor standards.
Levelling Up and Housing Secretary Michael Gove claims measures will also help responsible landlords gain possession of their property from anti-social tenants.
But some fear the new changes could force more landlords to leave the sector, making rents surge even higher than they currently are.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: "Whilst headline commitments are helpful, the detail to follow must retain the confidence of responsible landlords, as well as improving tenants' rights.
"A failure to do so will exacerbate the housing crisis at a time when renters are struggling to find the homes they need.
"The eventual legislation needs to recognise that Government actions have led to a shortage of supply in the sector at a time of record demand. It is causing landlords to leave the sector and driving up rents when people can least afford it."
David Hannah, group chairman at Cornerstone Tax said: "I am in favour of rogue landlords being driven out of the markets, but there are also good landlords who have bad tenants that need to be considered. The most important thing is to balance tenant rights against tenant obligations and ensure that landlords keep some of their authority."
Simon Bath, CEO of iPlace Global, the creators of Moveable, added: “The property market continues to face severe shortages in supply—in the last three years, the number of available rental properties has almost halved and with that, prices have gone through the roof. At least now the Government is set to announce plans to ensure tenants are getting the protection they deserve.”
Announcing the plans, Mr Gove said: "For too long many private renters have been at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords who fail to repair homes and let families live in damp, unsafe and cold properties, with the threat of unfair 'no fault' eviction orders hanging over them.
"Our new deal for renters will help to end this injustice by improving the rights and conditions for millions as we level up across the country and deliver on the people's priorities."
The White Paper still needs to be debated and passed through Parliament before it is made law, with changes likely to be made to the paper during the process.